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BOE works to revamp district lines

By By SHERRY DIGMON
Advance Staff Writer
Members of the Board of Education began trying to fit a puzzle together Thursday in a workshop on redistricting.
Only three of the county's seven districts are within legal guidelines according to figures from the 2000 census. The districts that are within the five percent variance are District 1, board member Mike Goolsby; District 4, Richard Hawthorne; and District 7, Steve McGill. District 6, Janice Ash, is slightly out of variance but easily corrected.
Board attorney Broox Garrett said the problem is in adjusting District 3, Donnie Crutchfield; District 5, W.J. Grissett; and District 7, McGill. Even though McGill's district is within the guidelines, adjusting districts 3 and 5, which are adjacent to District 7, throws District 7 off.
Crutchfield's district runs a considerable distance across the northern part of the county, from north of Brewton to Huxford. Grissett's district includes the northern part of Atmore and extends to north of the interstate. McGill's district includes the western part of the county from north to south and from the west to the borders of Crutchfield's and Grissett's districts.
The problem with adding and subtracting areas is that the board have the figures on the population of each area within the districts. Computer software is available that has those figures but the software costs $16,000. As a result, Teresa Armstrong and Rachael Fillmore, central office personnel, spent two days in Montgomery recently plugging in numbers and trying to fit the pieces together.
They brought figures back based on several scenarios.
Following Thursday's discussion, Superintendent Buck Powell asked board members to go to Montgomery with Armstrong and Fillmore and try to work the districts out with access to the software.
The next workshop on redistricting will be held Thursday, Nov. 15, 4:30 p.m., at the central office in Brewton. The board scheduled a public hearing on redistricting Thursday, Nov. 29, 4 p.m., with the regular board meeting following at 4:30.