Christine Lee, Irving Reporter
Irving Independent School District wants public input as it releases newly drafted maps that create single member districts.
In the struggle to determine whether or not to diversify a school board, the City of Irving's school district is asking for the public's help.
Board members took a step towards collaborating with community members by voting to release documents showing what single member districts may look like.
Superintendent Dr. Dana Bedden said 83-percent of the roughly 35,000 student population in Irving ISD are non-white. The board has hired a consultant to use 2010 Census data to draft a couple of maps showing single member districts.
"I've asked for him to make sure that he gives me something that is a truly legitimate example," Dr. Bedden said.
Longtime Irving residents, Anthony Bond and Josie Sanchez, embraced the idea of change. Sanchez, whose five children all attended or are currently attending schools in the Irving school district, said, "We need a candidate that we will support that we know will make our voices heard. And to date there has not been one."
Bond and other supporters presented their own draft of a seven single member district map to the school board.
"It's not about race. It's about equality. It's about fair representation. That's all we want," he said.
But Dr. Bedden and the school board are also aware of those with opposing opinions. They say whatever the outcome, this will be a community-based decision.
"Ultimately, the hope is that they make a decision that is in the best interest... where children should come first," said Dr. Bedden.
Attorney C. Robert Heath will provide the school board administration with two illustrative/hypothetical maps, and they should be available to the public later this week online.
Three public hearings will be held on this issue: Jan. 5 at 7p.m. at Irving High School; Jan. 9 at 7 p.m. at MacArthur High School; and Jan. 10, 7 p.m. at Nimitz High School.
The Board of Trustees will get together on Jan. 12 for a special called meeting at the district Administration Building, where they may decide whether or not to move ahead with creating single member districts.