Hopkins Co. educators, community groups meet over board diversity issue

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MADISONVILLE, Ky. (WEHT) – We want to update you on a story we first brought you last week of groups in Hopkins County, Kentucky questioning the lack of diversity on the school board.

Both sides met last night to discuss a way forward.

It wasn’t an official board meeting last night, but some educators talked with leaders of groups who said an African American should have been chosen to fill a seat vacated last month. Both sides say last night’s talks were a step in the right direction.

They discussed a proposal to name an African American to the board in a non-voting role, the district’s inclusivity committee, which includes members of minority communities, plus a new Black History 365 program, which teaches African American history year round. No official action was taken. The meeting followed the board’s selection last month of J.W. Durst, a former board member, to fill the term vacated by Doug Center in District 5.

“I think all walked away very positive that, although we have made great strides, there are still opportunities to improve, and that we agreed to get together to continue to move in that direction,” Durst said.

“Whenever you have both sides able to come to the table together, and address a concern, it’s always a start in the right direction, especially if you hope to make positive strides,” adds Bill McReynolds of the African American Coalition of Hopkins County.

Durst says he chose to apply for the vacancy to help with the district through recent tough times, and currently has no plans to run again in two years. McReynolds says he’s heard from some African Americans who are interested in running for the District 5 seat when it’s on the ballot again.

(This story was originally published on February 2, 2021)

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