A letter from the League of United Latin American Citizens is threatening to take legal action if the Green Forest School Board continues with its plans to rezone their district without holding new elections. In the letter addressed to Board President Bud Phillips that was provided to Carroll County News by LULAC, they state:
You are hereby notified that LULAC will make a written complaint to the U.S. Department of Justice's voting rights division if the Green Forest school board fails to abide by the law regarding rezoning and new school board elections. We hope that this legal challenge will clarify the confusion regarding the issue. Of course, if you choose to follow the law and hold the required election, no such complaint will be necessary.
At the Carroll County Election Commission meeting on Friday morning, the commissioners reviewed the rezoning plans submitted by Berryville and Green Forest that were each prepared by ACT Geospacial.
Berryville's plan included new elections, Green Forest's came with a letter that stated:
Upon legal counsel, the Green Forest School Board has voted to not conduct new elections for the new zones, they are just redrawing the zone lines as attached.
Carroll County Election Commissioner Levi Phillips stated the following about the decision not to hold new elections, "We have two districts, both operating under the same law. Both are interpreting the law in different ways. Berryville is holding new elections, Green Forest is not. The zones are what we are interested in. They voted to rezone their district without holding new elections. The election commission is an administrative body. We have no input on whether they hold elections or not."
If Green Forest decides to change their course and hold elections, they need to be quick about it. June 10 is the first day of petition circulation for people interested in running for board positions, and according to Election Coordinator Bethe Henley, although there is no code regarding a deadline, traditionally, June 1 is the day the information is provided to the county clerk's office to allow for interested potential candidates to contact the county. After that, petitions are due to be filed on July 10, ballot positions are drawn on July 11, and paperwork is sent to the ballot printers on July 13.
In an e-mail to the Carroll County News, Rafael Arciga Garcia stated, "The board stated in recent news articles that it would not comply with the law unless faced with a legal challenge. In the attached letter, we are alerting them that we will provide the legal challenge."
Board President Bud Phillips told Carroll County News by phone this afternoon that the board's attorney will have a letter to present to the board at this evening's meeting for informational purposes, but beyond that he couldn't comment at this point.
The school board meeting is set for 5 p.m. this afternoon.