Moss Point has some addition and subtraction to do before its next school board meeting. When the five-member school board meets again in January, it will have just three members. It needs two more trustees added over the next several days so each of the city’s five school districts has proper representation in 2018.
WLOX News has confirmed one of the appointments must be made this week. The other appointment can’t be made until after the new year begins.
The city requested an Attorney General’s opinion to sort out the confusion about who could serve on the Moss Point school board once 2018 begins. That opinion arrived December 15.
The confusion surfaced in November after the city held its first school board elections. Those elections were for districts one, three and five. Amy Buckley won the District 1 seat. Isaiah Hayes won in District 5.
No one qualified in District 3. Consequently, the Attorney General says it’s the board of aldermen’s job to fill that seat. And that individual must live in the district. Moss Point's city attorney says aldermen have until the end of this week to make that appointment.
The District 4 seat will be filled by current board member Carolyn Moore.
House Bill 2463 is the law that required Moss Point to hold school board elections. It specified an election for Moore’s District 4 seat would be held in November 2018. The house bill says November 2018 is also when the District 2 election will be held.
So, who will represent District 2 between now and that election? The Attorney General says that's up to the next school board.
"Vacancies occurring from and after January 1, 2018, are to be filled by appointment by the duly serving board members serving at the time the vacancies are created," the AG opinion states.
Because District 2 loses its representative when this new board takes over January 1, the school board must ask someone who lives in the district to serve until November's election.
At the moment, Clifton Magee, Loretta Jennings, and Lena Sanders all serve on the Moss Point school board. Because they all live in District 5, the Attorney General’s opinion says they aren’t eligible to remain on the board past January 1, 2018.
"The fact that those three (3) trustees reside in District 5 disqualifies them from serving beyond January 2018 because the trustee for that district has now been elected," the attorney general writes.