Commissioners spar over county school redistricting

Shelby County Commissioners fought Monday over an apparent last minute attempt to redraw County school district lines, and a possible legal mistake that should have been caught two years ago

The decision could affect several candidates running for office.

Shelby County Election Commission officials told County leaders they had no choice but to redraw school district lines because of a newly discovered mistake they say was made in 2004. Commissioner David Lillard was not happy.

"This whole thing is very suspicious, about how it gets brought up at the 11th and one half hour and it basically negates any reasoned decision making," Lil

This issue belongs to Commissioner Walter Bailey. He told Action News 5 last week it was about re-drawing the districts to adequately represent the changing demographics. The school board is currently an all-white group.

But Monday, election officials said there was a better reason to do it, claiming the decision to create split precincts two years ago was not legal and that it must be changed immediately. School leaders weren't convinced.

"People in politics often try to find good, legitimate issues upon which to drive a political agenda," said Shelby County School Board Chairman David Pickler. "I certainly think Commissioner Bailey has been on the record for quite some time about trying to achieve certain demographics on the

Pickler said there are three current school board members elected under the old map. Changing it now, he said, would be unfair.

Lillard, and others, were furious that the Election Commission didn't notice it earlier.

Bailey said it was an oversight that now can't be ignored.

"Now it has been brought to our attention so we've got to address it," he said. "We c

The deadline to qualify for school board positions is April 6th. This has to be done before then.

The Commission has called a special meeting for Wednesday at 3pm, where they will go over details and vote on the issue.