School Board Redistricting: Why It Matters And What You Can Do

Here’s the deal:

Every ten years the county commissioner zones, the road board zones, and the school board zones come up for redistricting. Back in September, this was all voted on, and this —> school board zones-current is the map of the school board zones we currently have. It has been this way, apparently, for over 24 years. I highly suggest if you are having a hard time seeing the map, that you print it out- it is much easier to see printed out than it is on my computer.

But take a look at what is going on with La Vergne. Lake Forest is up there in the upper corner, in the green zone. (Zone 2) There is a central area that covers a good bit of La Vergne and part of Smyrna. (Zone 1) And then there is the “Island District” that covers West La Vergne and, after being split up by the weird red zone, the southwest part of Rutherford County that covers Eagleville.

Lake Forest’s zone is shared with Milton. I dunno if you’ve ever been to Milton. It’s a nice place, I have a friend who lives there. But its needs are extremely different from the needs of people who live in Lake Forest. I would even venture to say that La Vergne’s needs are unique from just about every other area in Rutherford County because of the influx of people we receive in our school system from Antioch, and because of the socio-economic strata of people we have in our area.

Okay, so La Vergne is split up into three districts that it shares with some areas that share very little of the same issues we face.

So what?

So, this matters. I don’t know how long any of you dear readers have been living here or have been paying attention to the history of the schools in La Vergne, but trust me when I say every school we have in La Vergne has been a result of a hard fought battle. I suspect, at least, in part because of the way these school board districts are drawn. See, they’re watered down so that La Vergne doesn’t have one solid voice to speak for it. Sure, we have had some very great advocates for us over the years, but believe me- that was a result of a lot of hard work on the part of citizens who cared enough to make their voices heard.

Okay, so what can we do?

Educate yourself. First, I highly suggest you watch the Steering Committee meeting the occurred on November 7th and observe the extremely unprofessional way Commissioner Robert Stevens and Mayor Mosley and others who advocated the zone change were treated by others on the committee. I know, it’s long, the part about the proposed Road/School Board Zone change starts at about 15 minutes. It starts getting REALLY interesting at about 40 minutes into it. Here is a link where you can go watch it for yourself:

Oh, it appears you can watch it right in the post itself. Awesome, WordPress, thanks for that.

Next, take a look at the proposed Road/School Board Zone change:

road-school board zone change proposal

Now, is that not a far more logical map than the one we currently have?

Cool, I’m educated, now how can we take action?

In the shock of the century, I (and some other TiLV-types) sat down with Alderman Broeker and Carolyn and Yvonne of the Concerned Citizens of La Vergne, and Sarah and Joe Boner. We discussed this issue in depth. And agreed and everything. It was awesome. We have asked Commissioner Doug Shafer to bring forth a motion that the Commission revisit the School and Road Districts for fair and equal representation of like districts. A city has different needs than a rural area, and just as La Vergne is getting the shaft, so are the places that have to share their districts with us, like Eagleville and Milton.

So get with your friends in these areas because it affects them as well. Please call and e-mail as many of the county commissioners as they possibly can and ask for them to revisit the redistricting of the Road and School Board Zones. Here is a link with the contact information for each commissioner. The commissioners we especially might be receptive to hear our voices (and/or, need to hear our voices whether they are receptive or not) are:

Jack Black
Robert Peay
Carol Cook
Joe Frank Jernigan
Tiffany Phillips
Brad Turner
Rhonda Allen
Charlie Baum
Adam Coggin
Matthew Young
Jeff Phillips
Allen McAdoo
Joyce Ealy
Chantho Sourinho

Just because someone’s name is not on this list doesn’t mean you should not contact them- every vote is important. The next Commission meeting is Thursday, November 17th at 6 PM. Please plan to attend if you can, but if you cannot, please, please help us in contacting these commissioners so we can make our voices heard.  Not to rip off Carolyn’s catchphrase or anything, but together we really can make a difference.

Consider this- the next redistricting is not for another ten years. In ten years, all three of my children will be graduated from high school. So much can change in ten years and if we are not forward thinking now, we could be doing our future selves (and children and, and, and) a great disservice. Let’s fix this now, while we have the opportunity.

Edit: Here is a link to the post that Concerned Citizens did on this issue. It fills in any gaps I left on my own post.

14 comments for “School Board Redistricting: Why It Matters And What You Can Do

  1. tony vanatta
    November 9, 2011 at 6:08 am

    if LaVergne don’t come together on this its not going no where as by watching this video.

  2. CindyR
    November 9, 2011 at 8:31 am

    Ivy, could you elaborate on:

    “Lake Forest’s zone is shared with Milton. I dunno if you’ve ever been to Milton. It’s a nice place, I have a friend who lives there. But its needs are extremely different from the needs of people who live in Lake Forest.”

    I somehow get the feeling this is in negative sense. As long as people continue to see this subdivision portrayed this type of light – it will never find responsible tenants and homeowners moving into it to make it better.

    Please clarify what your intention of the comment was supposed to be. Thank you!

    how the needs of people in Milton

    • Ivy
      November 9, 2011 at 8:42 am

      I didn’t mean it in a negative sense at all, Cindy. In fact, I live in Lake Forest and am generally one of its staunchest defenders. What I meant is that in a population-dense area such as Lake Forest, the needs of its residents- particularly when it comes to schools and its children- are totally different, from the type of funding needed to the way school transportation is handled. Think metropolitan vs. rural.

      Believe me, I certainly do not mean to portray Lake Forest in a negative light.

  3. CindyR
    November 9, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    I stand corrected – I guess I am on the defensive – as it seems to be common practice by many to kick LF….I live there too – and try to see the best in our neighborhood….hoping that others do as well. Thank you for clarifying Ivy!!

    • Ivy
      November 9, 2011 at 5:06 pm

      No worries, I do the same as well, both for Lake Forest and La Vergne. 🙂

  4. Scott
    November 10, 2011 at 9:19 am

    Sometimes I think this site should be call “ThisIsLakeForest.com”. I live and work in a completely different area of La Vergne and it feels like there really is no voice for other communities for this city. I know LakeForest is the largest, but it has become one of the most infamous in Nashville and all of LaVergne suffers for it. I dearly love my neighborhood, our elementary and middle school and so do many of my neighbors but I dread that my child may one day go to LVHS. Guess I am saying…this should rezoning should be looked at as a whole….not just from the perspective of one neighborhood. That said…I have no idea what this map or article was actually supposed to tell me so I guess I have to now watch a long video and figure it out.

    • Ivy
      November 10, 2011 at 9:31 am

      Well, Scott, I apologize for not being clear enough for you. Try reading the other article I linked at Concerned Citizens.

      • Scott
        November 10, 2011 at 10:03 am

        My apologies…the Concerned Citizens link provides a bit more detail that this is a county issue with LaVergne suffering from lack of true representation. Perhaps it was just the comments about LF that set me off. Can I also ask? Why in the world would LaVergne have Antioch residents in their school systems? We are a different county…..is that because of a State zoning demand? If so, do they provide additional funding to cover the expense?

    • LV2LV
      November 10, 2011 at 10:26 am

      LHS…not LVHS is a great school. As with all schools, there are some bad kids, bad teachers, bad parents, bad adminstrators, but there are also Great kids, great teachers, great parents and great administrators!! If you dread your kids going to LHS then maybe you should get involved in some of the things going on there and see what you can to do “improve” it instead of assuming its all bad. What schools dont have issues…I, along with MANY, love LHS and all the things my kids have been able to accomplish there!! The Choir and Band programs are the best in the state for example! Sorry, but I dont take kindly to general statements about a school when obviously they dont know anything about them!!

      • michaelinLV
        November 10, 2011 at 12:43 pm

        So I have been trading messages with Gary Farley from the sterring commitee. We haven’t spokem but in my messag eI mentioned to him that I understand not wanting to re-zone just to give La Vergne “their seat” because then Blackman wants 1 and Walter Hill will want their own… And I can understand that, but I still don’t understand the logic put into this new map? If it truly is the exact same map from 24 years ago, it certainly should be re-evaluated.

        But another point I have, right now there are 7 board memebers, and 3 of them have residents in La Vergne, right? Well I would say wouldn’t we rather have 3 voices than 1? I know we may not always have 1 living in La Vergne, but I’m just not sure the current zones are such a bad thing. I do think La Vergne should have gotten the high school that is now being built at Stewarts Creek, I don’t know if the zones had any effect on that or not. From what I understand Lavergne Lake HS wasn’t built because the land they bought to build on is unsuitable, right?

      • Scott
        November 10, 2011 at 1:11 pm

        Thank you for the correction on LHS. My mistake since that hasn’t been a necessity for me to know yet. Years ago, I remember the choir coming to our building for Holiday Caroling and they did a great job! I, of course am looking at the overall next 10 years, whereas you are looking at your current or past experience of LHS. A school’s success often mirror the success of the community. If the city of La Vergne is hurting right now….how in the world do you think that won’t impact our children?

        • LV2LV
          November 12, 2011 at 5:19 pm

          Actually, I have past, current, and future experience with LHS and 3 other schools near Lake Forest. I am proud of my 2009 LHS graduate(past), my LHS Junior(current)and my 2 in 5th grade and 1st grade(future).

          I truly care about all of our schools and give tremendous credit to the teachers, administrators and support staff for what they do everyday. I have been very involved at 4 of La Vergne’s schools and have LOVED all of them. I see the behind the doors day to day workings of the school and while there are some things that I just dont like, for the most part, I am very comfortable with my choice to have my kids attend these schools for the last 8 years. I researched a ton before our move to TN and could have chosen virtually any area to move to but chose La Vergne specifically for LHS and their Music department. I was fully aware at the time that LHS was not rated the best academically but I am not a parent that relies soley on the teachers to teach my children. I also knew there were some discipline issues but knew that my kids would still thrive because they are disciplined at home, know how to behave away from home and have learned how to deal with or avoid those that are not.

          I believe that the parents and schools and the community as a whole (not just one area) need to work together to help our students be successful.

          I also agree that we need representation to make sure we are not overlooked again on building schools in the La Vergne area when clearly the population growth has warranted it for years.

  5. Leanne
    November 12, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    I have watched this video several times. I have a question.

    WHY did none of the school or rural board members come to the redistricting meetings when they were notified of the meetings and now it is up for discussion by the steering committee?

    Jeff Jordan said that Mr. Kelly had SIX weeks to address it if there was a problem and this is the first this committee has heard of a problem. None of the people except Wayne Blair (one time) came and they have never seen a school board member come to the redistricting meetings according to the discussion.

    Why didnt the school board members come to these meetings and address it during the redistricting meetings?

    Can someone explain this or have I interpreted this wrong? I am all for La Vergne 110% but why wasnt the appropriate people there in the redistricting meetings?

  6. michaelinLV
    November 13, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    Maybe all of the school board members are comfortable with their districts as drawn? I mean, any change to the lines will impact their re-election abaility, and it may not be for the better.

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