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Staff Photo by Robin Rudd / County Commissioner Katherlyn Geter speaks about her concerns about the makeup of the school board's districts at an Oct. 26, 2021, joint meeting of the Hamilton County Board of Education and the Hamilton County Commission.

The Hamilton County Commission decided Wednesday in a 6-2 vote to increase the number of school board members to 11, up from nine.

The board members' districts will align with the boundaries used for the newly-approved 11-district county commission map.

Democratic commissioners Warren Mackey, D-Lake Vista, and Katherlyn Geter, D-Ridgeside, voted against the increase in school board districts. The third Democratic commissioner, David Sharpe, D-Chattanooga, was not present for the vote.

(READ MORE: Five things to know about the Hamilton County school choice application process)

Mackey last week agreed that it was customary to have the same number of school board seats and commissioner seats, but ultimately voted against the measure.

"My school board representative asked me to oppose it," Mackey told the Times Free Press after the meeting. "And I agree with the premise it's in her domain."

(READ MORE: Hamilton County commissioners approve adding two new districts to county map)

Board members had mixed opinions on expanding the number of school board districts in an Oct. 26 joint redistricting meeting with the commission, with some board members favoring 11 districts and others favoring nine.

Last week, school board vice chair Tiffanie Robinson — the school board member representing the same district as Mackey — signed a letter with board chair Tucker McClendon of East Ridge asking the commission to continue redistricting discussions and hold off on Wednesday's vote.

The statement reiterated that the board had asked that the "Hamilton County Commission defer any redistricting of the Hamilton County Board of Education until after the board of education has had the opportunity to discuss this issue in-depth and, perhaps, to formulate its own proposed redistricting map to reflect the needs of the school system's stakeholders."

Contact Anika Chaturvedi at achaturvedi@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6592.

Contact Logan Hullinger by phone at 814-319-5158 or via email at lhullinger@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @LoganHullinger.

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