While the debate on whether to merge the Scott County School District with the Forest Municipal Separate School District continues, there are several state laws that address the re-alignment of school districts and their boundaries.
The issue came up on September 12 when Forest School Board Member Ronnie Foreman said he would like to place the issue of merging with the county school district on the agenda for the school board meeting held Monday.
During Monday’s meeting before a crowd of about 150 in the Forest Elementary School Auditorium, Board Attorney Tommy Lee gave a brief description of what state law requires in the process to dissolve a school district and join another district.
“One thing to note is that the state law specifically points to two school boards that 'determine that it is appropriate that their existing boundaries be altered to provide better service to students…” Lee said, characterizing the motive behind any possible decisions.
“The board does not have the facts it needs to make a decision in my opinion. The only thing that this board can do at this point is to appoint an emissary to meet with the county school board and discuss the issue,” Lee said.
Lee said the process of dissolving the school district and merging with the county would be an extensive process that would take time.
According to section 37-7-105 of state law, the Forest school board and Scott County Board of Education would have to enter orders in their minutes approving the change to start the process. Notices would be made public in a local publication and posted for a required period of 30 days before becoming final if an opposing petition is not filed.
If 20 percent or 1,500 qualified voters whichever is less, in the Forest school district file a challenge, an election would be held. If a majority of voters approve the merging of school districts, the process continues.