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franklin county times

Musgrove signs school bill

By Staff
Steve Swogetinsky/The Meridian Star
March 25, 2001
Gov. Ronnie Musgrove has signed legislation into law encouraging Meridian officials to appoint a city school board member from outside city limits.
Musgrove signed the bill without comment and it becomes effective July 1.
Co-authored by state Reps. Eric Robinson, R-Quitman, and Tommy Horne, Independent-Meridian, the bill addressed concerns of parents who have complained they have no representation on the Meridian School Board.
With one school board member's term expiring at the end of this month, the governor and Legislature's action could be seen as an opportunity to deal with a simmering issue over what some call "taxation without representation."
About 280 students now attending city schools live outside city limits. Their parents can't vote for mayor and city councilmen, who in turn appoint school board members.
Rep. Greg Snowden, R-Meridian, has said the bill, which gained final legislative approval on March 12, was designed to encourage school board representation. But, he said, it was not a "school choice" or "student transfer" bill.
Meridian Mayor John Robert Smith nominated Elaine Maust, who lives outside Meridian city limits, to the Meridian School Board last year but city council members rejected her.
Smith has said he is talking with council members about re-nominating Maust, although no final decision has been made. The term of school board member James Vance's term expires this month, leaving a potential opening.
Steve Swogetinsky is regional editor of The Meridian Star. E-mail him at sswogetinsky@themeridianstar.com.