Battle over redistricting reaches state level

by: Kathryn Burcham Updated:

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UNION COUNTY, N.C. - The battle over redistricting in Union County schools has reached a state level.

Thursday, North Carolina Board of Education members adopted a resolution that recognized the authority of local boards of education in making redistricting decisions, but resolved that the boards "deliberate with extensive input from parents and other citizens."

Union County BOE Vice-Chair Marce Savage is a state BOE member, and during discussion of the resolution, broke down in tears.

"The problem here was there was no transparency, the problem here there was no parental input..." Savage told her fellow board members.

"How can parents trust their local board, when they're entrusting us with their most precious possession, when something like this is happening?" Savage asked.

Representative Craig Horn said he has also received an extensive amount of emails and messages asking him to intervene.

Horn told Channel 9 that until Thursday, he had not taken an official stance on the issue, but decided to speak out to Eyewitness News to let parents know they had a voice.

"I would ask that the board reconsider their actions and involve the parents that are affected," Horn said in a phone interview.

When asked if the board members ignored parents' concerns, Horn replied, "It appears so. I don't want to say that they were, I say it appears so."

Horn said in the week before the board's surprise wrote, he wrote personal letters to each member and had them hand-delivered to the members' mailboxes, encouraging them to slow down the redistricting process.

"I asked them to be diligent and inclusive in their deliberations. I may have gone a little further than that, but that's the substance of what I asked them to do," Horn said.

A petition on change.org to recall the sitting Board of Education had reached nearly 1,500 signatures by Thursday afternoon. Horn said he was responding to requests to sponsor a bill to allow a recall election in Union County by reminding parents that it was not a quick process.

"Just because of how long it takes to write laws and get them distributed, it wouldn't be effective til at least the end of the year," Horn said.

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