SP District lines

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 23, 2011

SP lines get new redraw

By Rupert Howell

Superintendent Dr. Keith Shaffer presented a third redistricting plan to South Panola School District Trustees at their monthly meeting that rearranged current district lines more than the previous two and makes each sub-district more regional with the district’s communities.

Redistricting comes about following each 10-year census when population shifts cause a 10 percent or greater population variance between existing districts. Other considerations include incumbent office holders’ residences be included in the new districts, and due to the 1965 Voting Rights Act, minority population percentages may not be decreased  where they are currently a majority. Also any changes must be approved by the U.S. Justice Department.

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During a public hearing last month, Harold “Pee Wee” Johnson and his wife, Martha Lynn, expressed concern due to their current district stretching from the Quitman County line on the west side of the county east past their home on the eastern side of the county.

South Panola School District encompasses the approximate southern half of Panola County.
The long narrow strip that protruded from the northwestern corner of the district from trustee sub-district 2 was cut in half in the latest plan. Additional area and population was added in the southwestern portion of the county extending to the Tallahatchie County line including the Panola side of the town of Crowder.
The detached portion of the protrusion was split between sub-districts 3 and 5 with approximately two sections of area from Henderson to Hughes Road being put into sub-district 4.

Other changes include both sub-districts 1 and 5’s east and west boundaries as well as sub-district 5’s southern boundary. Several other areas in the school’s sub-district boundaries had minor changes in the lines.

Current trustees and sub-districts include: Jerry Cooley, One; Lygunnah Bean, Two; Sandra Darby, Three; Sarah Dell Gray, Four and Kim Nix, Five.

Trustees are elected to five year terms with one trustee position on the ballot each November during the general election. There is no primary as the positions are non-partison.

Gray’s term expires this year and she has chosen not to run for re-election although her husband, Buddy Gray, is seeking the post along with Odell Draper who recently qualified to run for the position.
November’s trustee election will be held using old lines according to Dr. Schaffer who told trustees he would send them enlarged copies of each alternate plan for comparison.

Board members are not expected to take up the matter again before next month’s regular meeting to be held October 18.