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Support for Redistricting Fades

In a reversal, the Blue Ribbon Commission today sided with a recommendation from the SACS chief, who suggested on Monday that the school board—not voters—pick the chairman of the Board of Education.

A day after the head of the agency that accredits Cherokee offered a stinging rebuke of legislation that would , the Blue Ribbon Commission that recommended the changes has reversed course.

The committee, which was tasked with redistricting the county  and  posts, had recommended the seats on both be voted on by residents in those specific districts. The committee also recommended that the school board and commission chairman seats be elected at-large.

This afternoon, committee members said they could no longer endorse such an approach if it jeopardized the district's accreditation status.

Below is the full text of the letter to metro Atlanta media outlets.

• • •

Since Rep Hamilton wanted to pull us back into the debate and the delegation constantly refers our split plurality opinion that we rendered back in January, several members of the commission have this response to his open letter this morning.

Note: this is the opinion of the majority of people I was able to reach on such a short time frame (since HB 978 is currently moving in the Senate). This is the letter that I sent them this afternoon.

Open Letter to the Members of the Cherokee Delegation that appointed the Blue Ribbon Commission,

On behalf of members of the Blue Ribbon Commission, I write you today with grave concerns for the recommendation that we gave you at the January 30th meeting for the Cherokee County School Board. As we mentioned at that meeting, two weeks was little time to get all of the facts that we needed. Since then, it has come to light that SACS has a problem with our recommendations. Specifically, they take issue with the election of a chairman via the voting process instead of one chosen within the board. Given the concerns of Dr. Mark Elgart, president of SACS, the legislation (HB 978) should be changed to reflect the problems that he has outlined. Therefore, these members change our recommendation to the following: eliminate the position of a chairman coming from the county at-large position instead allowing the chairman to be voted within the board itself. This would address the concerns of SACS and prevent major issues with the accrediting organization that have plagued Clayton and DeKalb counties in recent years and Cherokee County in the 1990s.

Sincerely,

Lisa-Marie Haygood

Janis Micali

Gary Parkes

Michael Sinco

Fred February 29, 2012 at 04:45 PM
How does this media outlet allow 4 members of a 13 member committee highjack the collective decision of the entire Blue Ribbon Committee? There is some many non-factual pieces in this article. SACS has done nothing officially and there are no guidelines for Chairman election in SACS. So, how can, we the voters, be highjacked by 4 renegades?
Lindsey Davidson February 29, 2012 at 05:01 PM
Fred, this is a letter sent to Patch from the Blue Ribbon Commission and is published as it was sent. It is a Letter to the Editor and is appropriately labeled as so. This is not an article written with any bias by Patch. As it says in the letter, "This is the opinion of the majority of people I was able to reach on such a short time frame (since HB 978 is currently moving in the Senate). This is the letter that I sent them this afternoon." You can contact the committee members that sent this letter if you disagree with their opinions or submit a Letter to the Editor with your stance as well.
Fred February 29, 2012 at 05:06 PM
Well, none of the individuals listed chaired the Blue Ribbon Commission. So, these individuals are speaking as a minority rebel group of the Commission, not "for" the Commission. Only the chair or vice chair has the authority to speak for the group. Linda Parker was the chairperson of the Commission.
Involved Mom February 29, 2012 at 06:01 PM
I am against HB 978 and disgusted that is passed the Ga Senate today. It will now be sent to Gov Nathan Deal, where I'm sure it will be rubber-stamped since our Cherokee Republican Delegation has recommended it and the Governor has no specific concern for Cherokee County. The current method of electing our School Board works best for everyone since each Board member is accountable to EVERY citizen taxpayer in Cherokee County. The new method will create division on the Board as each Member will only feel responsible to 'their' post's taxpayers and, therefore, will only look for the best interest of the schools in their post. They will no longer work as a cohesive unit.
RJ March 01, 2012 at 02:53 AM
Lindsey you are just wrong on the facts. This group is the losing side of the vote from the commission and to allow them to misrepresent themselves lacks the journalistic integrity of a high school paper. Even if it is a letter allowing these soar losers to mislead the public is wrong. As the editor you have the obligation to either correct it through an editorial note or ask them to correct the misleading information or withdraw the letter all together
Fred March 01, 2012 at 02:56 AM
Well scripted CRM!
RJ March 01, 2012 at 03:01 AM
CRM here is your history lesson for the day. Block voting was a tool used by the segregationist democrats who were afraid to loose power. The courts have ruled multi member districts unconstitutional. So why would you continue this charade? are you the old school racist power monger type? Do you have no regard for the constitution or the ruling of the courts? Or just another desperate power monger?
Lindsey Davidson March 01, 2012 at 03:35 AM
RJ, I'm sorry you feel that way. This is a submitted opinion piece from an outside source. I, nor any Patch staff, presented any facts here. Letters to the Editor are opinion pieces, not articles. Whether you like the group or not, or disagree with the members, they are entitled to their opinions and are able to submit letters just like everyone else. You are more than welcome to submit your own letter explaining why you feel the information is misleading.

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