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School District to have five zones

by Annette Beard | September 22, 2021 at 12:43 p.m.

The geographic area encompassed by the Pea Ridge School District will be divided into five zones by a demographer with the Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission, following approval by the Pea Ridge School Board Monday, Sept. 13.

One of each of the five school board members will be elected from each of those districts. The first year, those board members will have terms ranging from one to five years, and a new board member will be elected each year thereafter until each board member is serving five years.

The zoning and new regulations are a result of the increased number of minorities represented in the 2020 census, according to superintendent Keith Martin, who presented the information to the board. The 2020 census revealed a 17.2% minority population of the 10,046 total school district population compared to the 2010 numbers of 9.14% minority of a total of 7,990.

State law (ACA 6-13-631) requires any board of a community having a combined minority population of more than 10% create zones. The law provides that a school district that attains 10% minority population out of the total population shall elect board members in compliance with the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965 as amended.

Martin told board members they needed to select whether to have five or seven zones and whether to have five or seven board members. The board selected five zones and five board members.

Martin said a resolution must be adopted by Nov. 2 and the School Board elections will be held May 24.

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