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franklin county times

School board appeals to U.S. attorney general

By By Steve Gillespie/The Meridian Star
June 28, 2001
The Meridian School Board voted Wednesday to ask U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft to review House Bill 413.
The bill, which becomes law Sunday, allows parents living in the Meridian Separate School District to send their children to county schools unless a resident of their area is appointed to the Meridian School Board.
The board's resolution asks state Attorney General Mike Moore to submit HB 413 to the United States Attorney General's office. A copy of the request and resolution will also be sent to the United States Department of Justice.
The resolution cites state law calling for an election of a board member from added territory if 15 percent or more of the school district's students are from the added territory. About 3 percent (227) of the municipal district's students live in the added territory.
The resolution states the effect if not the intent of HB 413 is to "coerce a school district with added territory that furnishes less than 15 percent of the students attending the school district to somehow acquire a member by appointment or election from the added territory."
The resolution references the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which prohibits the enforcement of any voting qualification, prerequisite to voting, standard, practice or procedure with respect to voting without a declaratory judgment from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia or the submission of preclearance to the U.S. Attorney General.
Steve Gillespie is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3233, or e-mail him at sgillespie@themeridianstar.com.

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