Pair of petitions circulating/
Signatures sought for elected school board, alcohol sales
By Leada Gore, Hartselle Enquirer
A pair of petitions -one calling for a referendum on alcohol sales and another seeking to change the way members of the school board are selected – are making their way around Hartselle.
The petitions have been circulating in the last week and made an appearance at last weekend’s Depot Days. And while the petition for an elected school board is simply a show of support for the change, state law requires specific items for petitions pertaining to alcohol sales, stipulations that may not be met by the current signees.
Mayor Dwight Tankersley, City Clerk Rita Lee and City Attorney Larry Madison said they have not been contacted about the wet/dry petition or the wording on the document.
Wet/dry petitions are required to contain the signatures of 25 percent of the people who voted in the most recent general election. In Hartselle’s case, that’s last month’s municipal elections where 2,399 residents cast a ballot. Any petition calling for a vote on alcohol sales would be required to have 600 signatures of registered Hartselle voters in order to set a referendum date. If the required number is met and the signatures verified, the council is required by law to set a referendum. It would not have to be sent to the legislative delegation for its approval.
The petition calling for an elected school board doesn’t have to meet those same legal standards, however.
During the recent city council campaigns, several candidates said they would consider asking the legislature to set up a referendum to change the way the school board is selected if they were presented with a petition from a cross-section of area residents. None of the candidates said what number of signatures they would like to see on such a petition.
Currently, people wanting to serve on the school board are asked to submit applications and then are interviewed by the city council. The council then appoints the member.
Recent appointments have prompted much controversy and calls for a change in the way members are selected.
The petition for an election school board is available at several local businesses, including Pig Stand barbecue, Mister Henry’s, Huddle House and Abercrombie Chevrolet.