“All the schools currently feed into one another,” said Jennifer Modi, who lives near East Piedmont Road in Woodstream Blackjack Hills subdivision off Allgood Road. “The representatives will follow your child from elementary school all the way through high school. I know that … you have some (attendance zones) that it’s not going to work out perfectly, but as much as it can, they should try to do that.”
Modi lives in school board Chair Scott Sweeney’s post, but her children attend Kincaid Elementary and Simpson Middle, which are in David Banks’ post. Under the circulating map, Simpson would be represented by Kathleen Angelucci.
JoEllen Smith, who plans to run for the state Representative seat held by Don Parsons (R-northeast Cobb), called the town hall at the Mountain View Community Center off Sandy Plains Road so constituents could voice their opinions on a reapportionment map that some, like Modi, are unhappy with.
The map, which is changing because of new Census numbers, affects who residents will vote for, not which schools students will attend. The maps are redrawn every 10 years to keep the districts balanced.
The map that drew attendees to the meeting was drawn up by Earl Ehrhart (R-Powder Springs), who says he is working on a new map based on community input. The local legislators will meet Wednesday morning to “roll out” the map that will be voted on before they adjourn in the next 14 days.
Smith said she called the meeting last night because she doesn’t feel like the community had any input into the reapportionment map. She said she invited Cobb delegates to the meeting, but none of them attended.
“The larger of the issues is that it was done without public input. I believe in transparency and openness and trying to bring this (process) out in the open and to the public,” Smith said. “This map is the one we’re going to have to live with.”
She recommended those in attendance contact each legislator personally and tell them what they do or don’t like about the map.
“Give them the problem back in their lap,” she said. “They are not legally bound to have open meetings (about the map) but they moved along without asking our opinions. This is our district, these are our seats — We loan them the power. I want them asking your opinion, your permission.”
Modi said she has already emailed two of her representatives but hasn’t heard back from them. She did not say specifically whom she contacted.
“I am quite irritated … in the past when I’ve contacted them about things you get an automated email back or a fresh email back and this time, nothing, so I think I’m actually going to call,” she said. “I’m a social worker, so I know how to advocate.”
Cobb resident Kristen Dressel said voters must contact their legislators to have any hope of representation.
“They will pass it if we don’t complain. They have done this in private. They have not gotten public input. They have not taken the recommendations of our school board. They have done it without any consideration of what our needs are … if we don’t contact our representatives and b—— like crazy about this, they’re going to pass it and it’s going to be in place for 10 years. That’s why we’re here, to make sure everyone understands. This is a problem and unless they hear from us, they’re going to think it’s OK,” she said.
Smith said Dressel lives in the Shallowford Falls area in northeast Cobb.
Banks also advised those in attendance to contact their representatives and senators.
He is the only board member in August who did not favor the map that was approved by the board majority, going so far as to present his own map to the delegation.
“This map has a lot of flaws,” Banks said regarding Ehrhart’s map. “I’m not trying to get in a battle with legislators … I think it’s wrong and very destructive to the community.”
After the meeting, Ehrhart said map that has been circulating for the past week is not the final map, but he has received numerous emails from people who aren’t happy with it.
“The ones they’ve seen in the email blasts … they don’t like it,” he said. “I’ve taken a great deal of community input into this one though.”