Bobcat News

HOPE – The Hope Public Schools today released for public comment maps of proposed school board zones which the HPS Board of Education will take into consideration as it begins the process of redrawing board member zones subject to the 2020 U.S. Census.

HPS Superintendent Dr. Jonathan Crossley said the proposed maps were produced by Monticello, Ar., based consulting firm EFS GeoTechnologies for the board to begin considerations at its Nov. 15 meeting.

“As we move forward, transparency in board elections is a vital part of the democratic process,” Dr. Crossley said. “Overall, the proposed zone shifts reflect the changing demographics of Hempstead County.”

EFS was retained by the board in October to produce demographic and geographic data and possible applications which reflect the impact of the 2020 Census upon the seven representative zones of the board.

The Phase 1 map represents current board zone boundaries and their population based upon the count of the 2020 Census, while the Phase 2 map represents recommended changes to balance the populations in all seven zones within the federally-required five percent population deviation from zero.

HPS attorney Whitney Moore, of Camden, told the board in October state and federal law require board zones of substantially equal voting age populations and state law requires an equal number of board seats be subject to election annually. Moore explained after the rezoning process, board members will be required to draw for placement of their terms at the next election.

Currently, four members of the board will be subject to re-election in May, 2022, including Zone 3 Representative Margaret Moss, whose seat is open pending the election to complete her term in May, 2023, Zone 4 Representative Jimmy Courtney, Zone 6 Representative Kathryn Dickinson and Zone 7 Representative Alvis Hamilton.

Dickinson and Moss’ terms were skewed because they were originally seated on the board by appointment.

Zone 1 is represented by Viney Johnson, Zone 2 by David “Bubba” Powers, and Zone 5 by Linda Haynes.

The board voted in October to increase terms for board members from three years to five years, based upon Moore’s recommendation.

Maps of the Hope Public Schools District reflect the current status of HPS Board of Education election zones (Phase 1) and proposed new election zones (Phase 2) as recommended by a Monticello, Ar., based consultant. – Hope Public Schools

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