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Newport Independent - Newport, AR
  • School election zones redrawn

  • Two minor changes to the Newport School Board’s election zones have been announced by Superintendent Dr. Larry Bennett.

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  • Two minor changes to the Newport School Board’s election zones have been announced by Superintendent Dr. Larry Bennett.
    “Because of some shuffling in the population we had to take about 20 voters from Zone 3 and move to Zone 4,” Dr. Bennett explained recently.
    “I sat down with the Secretary of State’s office and after looking at it, she decided it was easiest to take Rink Road and move across Highway 67 from Kathy Green’s zone (3) to Jeff Rutledge’s zone (4).”
    The other change affected approximately 80 voters from zone 2 who were shifted to zone 5, represented by Loftin Kent.  
    “Each zone is required by law to be equal within 10 percent and our last census numbers showed a shift from the rural population forcing us to move those voters in each zone, but especially Loftin’s,” Dr. Bennett noted.
    The school board is currently awaiting a decision from the state Department of Education on whether the representatives of those zones will be the same come September.
    Earlier this year, following the release of the new zone redistricting, a memo was received by every school district in the state, according to Dr. Bennett.
    “It said that if a district’s election zones had to be redrawn, then every board member had to face re-election in September,” the superintendent explained.
    “However, our attorney has researched it and has come to the conclusion, based on his research and legal precedence, that that is not the case, that we will be able to hold our normally rotated elections in September.”
    Based on that interpretation from the district lawyer, the school board voted unanimously last month to adopt a resolution to maintain their current election schedule.
    “But, I warned the board that that was an interpretation of a law by a lawyer and ultimately, they may receive a different ruling and everyone may face re-election in September.”
    The superintendent hopes for a speedy decision from the state department as the first day to sign-up to run for the school board nears.
    “I would think that they would have to make a fairly quick decision on this.  Every district was faced with this decision and most of the district’s that I have talked to are handling the situation the same way we are, choosing not to run.”
    Currently Kathy Green and Dennis Haigwood are the only board members facing elections in t he fall.
     

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