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School Board expected to vote on redistricting

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By Ashley Wilkins

After having two weeks to look over the proposed redistricting maps, the Shelby County Board of Education Thursday is expected to have reached a decision on whether or not they want to accept one as their new voting boundaries.

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On June 26, the board met and heard a proposal from Adam Forseth with the Kentuckiana Regional Planning & Development Agency (KIPDA).  Forseth presented a map to the board members, outlining each district’s proposed boundaries. He stated that he had made an attempt to keep the districts as close to their previous boundaries while still balancing out the population amongst each board member.

However, some changes were made on the spot as a result of mislabeling on the original map.  Despite the corrections and the population balance, the board voted to table the decision, requesting a bit more time to review the map.

A point of contention for the board members was the decision to split Bagdad, therefore Forseth created a second map option that did not divide the town. 

However, both presented options will divide the voting precincts.  While there is no requirement to follow the precinct lines, SCPS Superintendent James Neihof said it would be “impossible to comply with the constitution and still follow precinct lines.”

Neihof expressed that KIPDA officials have assured him that it is not unusual for schools to split the voting districts.

SCPS Public Relations Coordinator Ryan Allan confirmed that both maps were sent to board members more than a week ago, and he anticipates the board will have additional requests.

“They’ll either approve one of those proposals or it’ll be another working session,” Allan said, adding that the members may want offer suggestions to alter some of the districts during the meeting and accept the map or they could choose to table the decision again.

Since the redistricting is not a requirement, but rather a suggestion, there is no timeline for the changes to be completed.

However, with two board members nearing their completion of their 4-year-terms and are up for election this November, ideally those changes should be made before the August filing deadline for candidates.

Allan said he expects the board will reach a consensus soon.

“The goal is by the beginning of school,” Allan said.

 

Strategic Leadership Plan

Prior to the redistricting vote, the board will hear a short presentation from SCPS Chief Academic Officer Lisa Smith.

Smith will update the board members on Globally Effective Students, the first of five strands of the new Strategic Leadership Plan, which focuses on teaching self-regulated learning, as well as assessing growth in creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, and communication.

Next month the board will hear a presentation regarding a different strand in the framework.

“[What] we have added now,” Allan said, “[is] once a month at the meetings, we’ll hear an update from one of the leaders on their particular strand.”

The five strands are Globally Effective Students, 21st Century Professionals, Healthy and Responsible Students, Innovation, and 21st Century Support Systems.

Allan explained that the Strategic Leadership Plan, which started this past school year, will remain big focus for SCPS.

“It’s our mission, it’s our vision, it’s what we’re about,” Allan said.

 

Also on the agenda, the board will:

  • Consider approval of Memorandum of Understanding with Utah State University.
  • Consider approval of waiving board polocies to allow SCHS JROTC to use common carrier transportation and travel on Sunday (July 27, 2014).
  • Consider approval of second reading on new and revised SCPS board policies.