Rezoning task force has to replace some members

Monday, July 13, 2009 at 12:27am

Nashville’s controversial new rezoning plan was created by a community task force, then approved by the Board of Education. That task force still exists, with marching orders of regularly reviewing the plan and its implementation.

At least four members of that task force will soon need to be replaced.

Mark North, the school board member who chairs the task force, said he knows now of at least four new appointments that must be made. He’s planning to check in with other task force members, too, to be sure there aren’t more.

The 12-member task force is chaired by North and includes one appointee selected by each school board member, plus designees of Director of Schools Jesse Register and Mayor Karl Dean.

New task force members likely will be in place by the time school starts, North said, and all appointments will be direct – there’s no need for the new task force members to be approved by North or by Board of Education Chair David Fox.

“I don’t need to have control over that, and the chair of the board doesn’t need to have control over that,” North said. “That’s the way it was set up.”

One of those stepping down is Marc Hill, chief education officer from the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and an appointee of former school board member Marsha Warden. Her seat represents Bellevue and parts of Belle Meade, and was filled last summer by Alan Coverstone.

Coverstone, in turn, vacated the seat in recent weeks to take a job managing charter schools for Metro Nashville Public Schools. Coverstone’s replacement is due to be selected soon by members of Metro Council, and that replacement will select a new task force member.

Another vacancy has been created by Michael Grant, a local businessman appointed by former Director of Schools Pedro Garcia. North said Grant did not participate in task force activities last year, and Register’s new appointment will mark the first time that the task force includes an active member appointed by the director of schools.

Also stepping down are Alene Arnold, a local education advocate and Metro parent appointed to the task force by Hillsboro school board member Fox; and Jeff Lawrence, who represented Metro Planning as an appointee of the Mayor’s Office.

The task force reconvenes in November to review the plan, its implementation, and any changes that should be considered. North said he wants to be sure new task force members are appointed in time to get “up to speed” on all the information involved. The task force is slated to meet twice each year.