School redistricting vote delayed in Harrison County, residents cite several issues
HARRISON COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - “Confusing and disappointing,” was how some Harrison County community members describe the school board’s meeting Monday night. School board members were set to vote on redistricting maps, but due to several concerns, that vote has been delayed.
“The whole process is flawed,” Gulfport NAACP President Gary Fredericks said.
That was the general consensus amongst Harrison County community members during the meeting. At times, a heated discussion on the board’s redistricting proposals affecting where children will go to school broke out among those in attendance.
“You have a 3 p.m. meeting to introduce the maps to the community, and then two hours later, it’s on the agenda to accept these maps one way or the other,” Harrison County resident Brian Pearse said. “I think the community does not have a chance to have input.”
“Looking at the numbers, we are trying to bring it as close to 1% deviation between each of the districts so that one person equals one vote,” school board member Rena Wiggins said.
The school board chose to go into executive session after concerns were brought to light.
Map options 1 and 2 were scheduled for a vote on Monday night’s agenda, but due to a lack of street names on the proposals, that discussion is now set for a later date.
“The maps are so small, how can you even see them?” Pearse asked. “You’re talking about a big geographic area on an 8x10 sheet of paper. So the community can see it by streets, not just the big area.”
“They dropped the maps on Friday (and) weren’t clear to the information that’s given so they go into executive session,” Fredericks said. “So we’re not clear, the community should be a part and engaged in this, and the NAACP is not going to stand for this.”
“Unfortunately on the maps, we couldn’t zoom in close enough to see street names that details so we will be looking to updating those if we can tomorrow sometime,” Wiggins said. “Hopefully we will be able to zoom in closer to the street level so then we will be able to make a decision.”
The vote on the redistricting map was tabled until the school board’s July 11 meeting.
There will also be an informational meeting for the public on July 7 at 5 p.m. at the district’s administration building located at 11072 Highway 49 in Gulfport.
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