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Decision Tabled on Redrawing School District Boundaries

muhl school board 300POWDERLY, Ky. (7/30/14) — Muhlenberg County School Board tabled action on new district school board boundaries during special session.

The top item on the agenda was new school board boundaries based upon the latest census data. The 2002 boundaries divided each district into areas with approximately equal numbers of people.

Margaret Williams raised an objection to the proposed boundary changes. She said when the districts merged, the idea was to keep the Greenville and Central City voting districts intact. Williams said the changes were coming late in the year and must be approved by Aug. 1. As a result, Williams made a motion to table the boundary agenda item to a later meeting. The motion received a second, but Dr. Kelly Tarter wanted to discuss his viewpoint on the proposed changes.

Tarter said that the boundaries have to be changed due to changes in population and that each district needed to represent about the same number of voters. Tarter said the plan will make the districts more equal. He also pointed to District 4, which includes Powderly. It currently has no board member. If the district keeps the current lines but is later forced to accept the new boundaries, that board member will have to resign as his district will disappear. He also said that some people in what is now District 5 will not be able to vote in a board election for eight years.

After the meeting, Tarter further explained the differences between the maps. In 2002, there was no GPS used in creating the boundaries and some people in the same precincts voted in different districts. Tarter noted the smooth lines in the 2002 map. In the new map, GPS enabled exact boundaries to be drawn showing the harsher more angled lines in the map leading to more exact divisions.

Williams then pointed out the division of Central City and Greenville in the new map. Williams said that with the new map the board could have two board members from Greenville and two board members from Central City.

"The proposed boundary map simply is not fair," she said.

Tarter agreed that each map has its problems but the distribution of the population in each district must be about the same. The boundaries must be changed and rejection of the new boundary map may cause future problems.

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The board then took action on the last two agenda items. First the board approved the new student fees for the 2014-2015 school year. Next, the board approved the emergency reading on the new graduation requirements. The change was no longer offering of the Commonwealth diploma. The Commonwealth diploma was offered by the state of Kentucky but was discontinued a few years ago. 2014 was the last school year a student could graduate with it.

The changes simply removed the diploma from the system's policies.

Charles Riley
SurfKy News Reporter
SurfKY News Photos/Charles Riley

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