Attorney Hopes To Delay Vote On Proposed Southside High School Changes

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FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- The Fort Smith school board plans to vote on Monday (July 26) whether or not to phase out the mascot and discontinue using the fight song at Southside High School.

Attorney Joey McCutchen said he hopes to delay the vote.

“Our goal is to get this to a judge as soon as possible. Hopefully tomorrow,” he said Sunday (July 26).

He said he plans to bring an issue to the attention of Sebastian County Circuit Court Judge Mike Fitzhugh.

A committee of the school board voted last month to make the changes happen. If the Fort Smith school board passes the motion, “Dixie” would no longer be the school's fight song beginning this fall, and the rebel mascot would be phased out in the 2016 school year.

A statement from the school district released last month reads in part, “This motion passed with a 6-0 vote and will be presented to the Board during the regularly scheduled meeting on July 27, 2015.”

McCutchen said that vote should be void.

“I think that vote should be void because I think it's a fraudulent vote,” he said.

McCutchen said he received a faxed copy of the Committee of the Whole meeting minutes, stating that the vote on Tuesday, June 23 was approved 5-to-0.

“They've represented to the public that it was a 6-to-0 vote, when in fact, one of the members came in after the process," he said.

According to the minutes, which came from the office of the superintendent, “The motion passed with a 5/0 vote, with Dr. David Hunton expressing an affirmative vote upon his arrival.”

But with the highly-anticipated vote scheduled to take place Monday evening, McCutchen is not sure if it will be possible to delay it.

"I don't know if we'll be successful in delaying the vote,” he said. “I think it's a long shot to delay the vote. I think we've got to see if we've got a responsible school board who understands that they've violated openness in government."

The school board meeting is scheduled for 5:30 on Monday (July 27).

The meeting will be open to the public.

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