MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - 23 will become seven. it's a game of musical chairs and your vote decides who ultimately sits on the Unified Shelby County School Board. The focus this election has been on the possible creation of new school districts.
Right now, 23 people sit on the Unified School Board. It's comprised of nine MCS board members, seven SCS board members and seven new members that were appointed by the Shelby County Commission. Now it's the voters' job to decide who will be the seven that remain when the merger is complete next summer.
If you ask Nellie Strickland, Judith Johnson or a number of Shelby County voters what the school board will look like this time next year, they have no clue. Strickland says, "To me, it's very complicated." Johnson says, "A lot of people don't understand it."
Kevin Woods and Kenneth Whalum are going head to head for the District Four seat. Even though they both serve on the current board, Woods was appointed by the County Commission, while Whalum is a former MCS Board member. It's even complicated for them. Woods says, "I have a pretty good grasp. I'm confused as all get out but I've got a grasp on that today, tomorrow it could change."
They're fighting for the permanent position. To make it even more confusing, several board members, like Woods, are now in new districts because of new voter lines. Current Chairman of the Unified School board, Billy Orgel, is the only unopposed candidate. "What you have is, for permanent positions on the school board, which in August 2013 will revert back to just seven members and those will be seven districts that were created last year through the agreement," Orgel says.
Essentially from now until August 2013 it's a big game of musical chairs. The current board could shrink after this election, if original board members are voted to the permanent seats. The rest will be out next summer when just seven members will remain, that's when the music finally stops.
Orgel says, "What you're voting on now is the seven districts and you're only voting on one person, there's no overlap. These people will be the ones who represent our parents and students going forward."
If you live in an even district, you're voting for a four-year term for board members. Odd districts are two-year terms this time.
For more information on your district and who you can vote for, visit shelbyvote.com