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.

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