Hon. Timothy Crawford
105 North Main Street
London, Kentucky 40741
Dear Mr. Crawford:
As attorney for the Whitley County Board of Education, you have written our office with
several questions regarding redrawing school district lines after an annexation. Corbin
Independent School District annexed a thousand acres of property in Whitley County. You
explain that this large annexation upset the population equation between the five Whitley County
Board of Education school districts.
KRS 160.210 governs the drawing of division boundary lines by the local school boards.
This statute states in part:
160.210. Election of board members--Change in boundary lines of
divisions--Boards in counties containing city of first class.--
(1)(a) In independent school districts, the members of the school
board shall be elected from the district at large. In county school
districts, members shall be elected from divisions.
* * *
(2) The board of education of each county school district shall, not
later than July 1, 1940, divide its district into five (5) divisions
containing integral voting precincts and as equal in population
insofar as is practicable. In first dividing the county district into
divisions the board shall, if more than one (1) of its members
reside in (1) division, determine by lot which member from that
division shall represent that division, and which members shall
represent the divisions in which no member resides. The members
so determined to represent divisions in which no member resides
shall be considered the members from those divisions until their
terms expire, and thereafter the members from those divisions shall
be nominated and elected as provided in KRS 160.200 and 160.220
(3) Any changes made in division boundary lines shall be to make
divisions as equal in population and containing integral voting
precincts insofar as is practical. No change may be made in
division boundary lines less than five (5) years after the last change
in any division lines, except in case of merger of districts or a
change in territory due to annexation.
* * *
We shall address your questions in the order presented:
1. Does the Board now have to change the division boundaries in Whitley County
pursuant to KRS 160.210?
Yes. KRS 160.210(3) envisions that subsequent to a merger or annexation the school
board shall redraw the division boundary lines to ensure that the divisions are as equal in
population and containing integral voting precincts insofar as is practicable. The Board must
redraw the divisions since the boundary lines of the Whitley County Board of Education
decreased by one thousand acres of property and caused unequal division of population in the
school district. This is consistent with Burkhart v. Blanton, Ky., 635 S.W.2d 328, 329 (1982),
wherein the court stated that the school board conducted its redistricting as "required upon
merger by KRS 160.210(3)." (Emphasis added).
2. If the answer is yes, by and during, when does this have to be done in 1992?
KRS 160.210(3) does not set a specific time frame that a school board must follow when
drawing the redistricting lines. We believe that the school board should vote on a redistricting
plan as expeditiously as possible. The restriction in KRS 160.210(4)(d) forbidding redrawing
division lines after August 1 in a board election year would not apply in a redistricting resulting
from an annexation or merger. The August 1 redistricting deadline would only apply when
residents file a petition to redistrict with the State Board for Elementary and Secondary
Education pursuant to KRS 160.210(4).
3. If necessary to equate population, pursuant to KRS 160.210, within the five (5)
divisions, can school board division lines be drawn through existing county voting precincts?
Yes. KRS 160.210(3) provides that in the event of an annexation or merger the school
board shall redraw the division lines to make divisions "as equal in population and containing
integral voting precincts insofar as is practical". This statute specifically envisions that there may
be rare instances where it is impracticable to maintain voting precincts. We must emphasize that
KRS 160.210 clearly contemplates that the lines will follow existing voting precincts. Splitting
an existing voting precinct for school board races creates difficult problems for the county clerks
who are in charge of supplying voting lists and machines for elections. Thus, splitting a precinct
is a last resort to be used only when equalization cannot be obtained in any other way.
We recommend that the school board maintain copies of the population figures and maps
utilized in redrawing the boundary lines so that they may document the redistricting plan. This
documentation would be especially significant in situations where a voting precinct was divided.
4. Does the rest of KRS 160.210(6) after the first full sentence apply to all counties?
No. KRS 160.210(6) provides for redistricting of school division lines in counties
containing cities of the first class. This subsection states:
(6) In counties containing cities of the first class, responsibility for
the establishment or the changing of school board division
boundaries shall be with the local board of education, subject to the
review and approval of the county board of elections. Where
division and census tract boundaries do not coincide with existing
election precinct boundaries, school board divisions shall be
redrawn to comply with precinct boundaries. In no instance shall
precinct boundaries be redrawn nor shall a precinct be divided to
accommodate the drawing of school board division lines. Precinct
boundaries nearest existing school board division boundaries shall
become the new division boundary. All changes under this statute
shall be completed on or before January 1, 1979, and on or before
January 1 in any succeeding year in which a member of the school
board is to be elected from any division. A record of all changes in
division lines shall be kept in the offices of the county board of
education and the county board of elections. The board of
education shall publish all changes pursuant to KRS Chapter 424.
A copy of the newspaper in which the notice is published shall be
filed with the chief state school officer within ten (10) days
following its publication.
We believe that KRS 160.210(6) applies only to counties containing cities of the first
class since this subsection may conflict with the redistricting requirements that apply to other
counties. For example, KRS 160.210(6) specifically forbids counties containing cities of the first
class from establishing school division boundary lines that conflict with existing voting precinct
lines. However, as discussed in question 3 above, all other school districts are not required to
maintain existing voting precinct lines. Thus, KRS 160.210(6) would not apply to the Whitley
County Board of Education.
Assistant Attorney General