The Wilson County School Board may soon have a couple additional members.
The County Commission will have an opportunity to advance a measure to expand the Wilson County School Board at its next meeting.
Following Thursday’s Education Committee vote asking for a resolution to expand the board from five members to seven, the commission will have to approve sending it to the state legislature for action. If approved by the General Assembly this session, the measure would be added as a referendum on the August ballot.
“It must have a two-thirds majority of 17 votes in order to be sent to the state,” said Education Committee Chair Annette Stafford. She has been a proponent of the expansion of the board for some time now.
The five board members currently serve approximately 24,000 citizens in their zone. If the two new members were added, that number would be reduced to approximately 17,000.
“I think we need to do what we can to make all citizens feel like they’re being represented,” said Stafford. “If we increase the number [of board members], then people can feel more connected with the person who represents them.”
At the Education Committee meeting Thursday Stafford said there had been “an outcry from the public” regarding the issue and she added Friday, “from what I’ve been told, this is what the public wants.”
“I’ve gotten so many phone calls about this,” said Stafford.
If the resolution ultimately makes it through the legislature and onto the August ballot, Stafford said she hopes the people will get out and vote. She said that the intent of the measure is to get ahead of the amount of growth that has taken place in the county.
“We’re already at 116,000 people. Within the next five to 10 years we could be up to 150,000.”
The county school system has nearly 17,000 enrolled students, and that number is expected to increase next year. According to numbers at the most recent school board meeting, the district added almost 700 new students second half of this school.
If approved by the legislature, the additional board members would be appointed by the County Commission until the next election, said Stafford. It would also mean redistricting to more evenly distribute the representation for each zone.
The County Commission will meet Jan. 27 at 7 p.m. at the county courthouse.