CLINTON — The East Feliciana Parish School Board agreed Tuesday to alter the boundaries of two of its election districts, which could give a former member a shot at returning to office in a special Nov. 8 election.
Demographer Mike Hefner, of Lafayette, will redraw the boundaries between Districts 1 and 2, which were changed before the 2014 regular School Board elections to the extent that District 1 incumbent Rufus Nesbitt’s residence was placed in District 2.
Hefner and board President Michael Bradford said Nesbitt’s removal from District 1 resulted from a mistake demographer Nancy Jensen made when drawing new districts after the 2010 federal census.
Nesbitt learned of the boundary change when he went to qualify for the 2014 election and was told District 1 no longer included his residence, Bradford said.
Nesbitt elected to run against Melvin Hollins for one of the District 2 seats but lost in a close race.
“She (Jensen) screwed all this up and retired,” board member Broderick Brooks said. Nesbitt could have chosen to run against Brooks instead of Hollins.
Norwood resident J. Curtis Jelks, who had held the seat before Nesbitt, won the 2014 election, but he resigned in March, saying board actions are “dominated by old and outdated ideas, special population blocs, misplaced priorities and alienation from present parish and state realities.”
The board was unable last month to agree on an interim replacement, and Gov. John Bel Edwards is to fill the vacancy until the Nov. 8 election.
To become effective for the fall ballots, Hefner said, state authorities must approve the changes by either July 6 or July 13, depending on the outcome of a bill pending in the current legislative session.
Qualifying for the fall elections is July 20-22.
Otherwise, the new boundaries would not become effective until the 2018 elections, Hefner said.
Bradford said he will call a special meeting later this month to consider the plan that Hefner presents.
In other action, the board recognized the district’s top students, teachers and principal.
Chynna King, Clinton Elementary; Mason Millican, Slaughter Elementary; and Kenny Collins, Jackson Elementary, were named Students of the Year, along with East Feliciana Middle School student Caleb Anderson, Ronnesha Jackson, of East Feliciana High School, and Slaughter Community Charter School senior Addrienne King.
Teachers of the Year are Monica Thomas-Corey, Clinton Elementary; Courtney Felder, Slaughter Elementary; Chelsey Burkette, Jackson Elementary; Sabrina Jones, East Feliciana Middle School; and Nicholas Turner, East Feliciana High School.
Sixteen-year veteran principal Kimberly Glascock of Slaughter Elementary was named principal of the year.
The board rejected a tentative offer from Robert Flowers, of Clinton, to take possession of the old Clinton High School building through a lease-purchase arrangement.
The property was appraised at $200,000, but the 1938 building needs extensive work.
Board member Paul Kent said representatives of several companies told him the roof is in such bad condition they would not allow their employees to work on it, and Bradford said he preferred to sell the building outright and not get into a long-term arrangement such as Flowers offered.
The board agreed and voted to seek bids on the building’s sale. A local company wanted to buy the building last year but backed out after learning what it would cost to renovate it.