PIKEVILLE, Ky. — At Thursday’s Pike County Board of Education regular meeting, the board addressed and approved the redistriciting plan for the Pike County School District, effective immediately.
According to Board Attorney Neal Smith, the last time Pike County schools visited the redistricting plan was in 2003.
“The legislation suggests that this subject should be revisted every five years to keep the population of each district as even as possible,” Smith said.
Because the board has not redistricted in 12 years, supporting board members say there was a huge discrepency in population accross the board. Prior to the new plan, the population gap was 6,610: the lowest population was 5,749 in District 5, and the highest population was 12,359 in District 2. With the new redistricting plan in place, the population gap is now 4,262: the lowest population is 6,260 in District 5, and the highest population is 10,522 in District 2.
A look at each district’s population before and after the redistricting plan is below:
8,881 -> 9,323
12,359 -> 10,522
7,923 -> 10,137
9,323 -> 7,993
5,749 -> 6,260
According to Smith, it is difficult to make the population evenly distributed because of population discrepencies around the county. For example, the population in the Majestic area is much less than the population in the Pikeville area. Smith also points out that the redistricting places some students into a district where they already attend school. This way the families will be able to vote for the representative where the child already attends school.
After a short conversation about the change, the redistricting was passed at Thursday’s Board of Education meeting. The vote was not unanimous, however. District 4 Board Member Nee Jackson voted against the change.
“In my short time in this position, I have represented the Blackberry area,” Jackson said. “These kids go to school at Belfry Middle and High School. Once the consolidation happens, many of them will be attending South Side Elementary … For the last 12 years, they have been in our district. It just feels like we’re losing part of our family.”
Jackson says he understands why the change is needed, and moreso, he knows that Kenneith “C.B.” Biliter of District 5 will do a great job representing those people.
“My only concern is that those kids will be going to school in our district, and their parents will be voting for other representation,” Jackson said. “I just didn’t want anyone to think I was forgetting about them or letting them down.”
Redistricting will only effect representation and has no effect on where students will be attending school.