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Bentonville board approves new school zone map for elections

by Dave Perozek | November 25, 2021 at 3:04 a.m.

BENTONVILLE -- During a special meeting Tuesday The School Board unanimously approved a new zone map that will be used for future board elections.

Last week the board adopted a new system of representation such that five members will represent specific geographic zones and two members will serve in at-large positions. Up to now, each of the seven members has been elected by zone.

The switch to having two at-large members means all district voters will have a say in electing three of the seven board members -- their zone representative and the two at-large representatives -- instead of only one.

Willie Cowgur and Kelly Carlson will be the initial at-large board members. Each of the other five zoned board seats will go up for election in November 2022 under the newly designed zones. Cowgur and Carlson will remain in their at-large positions.

Then, after that election, each newly elected board member will draw to decide when their positions will come up next for election so their terms are staggered over a five-year period. Board members usually serve five-year terms.

The district had to redraw board zones anyway because of the latest census results. Heavy growth over the past decade resulted in the seven zones becoming unbalanced population-wise.

Each of the five new zones has about 22,000 residents, according to the zone map approved by the board. The Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission designed the zones to be nearly equal in population.

The map also was drawn so that none of the incumbents must run against each other next year if they decide to run for reelection.

Print Headline: School Board approves new zone map


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