Yazoo County school officials gave the green light last week to preliminary redistricting work in the county's five school districts.
In their Oct. 6 meeting, the school board heard Bill Rigby of Holland and Rigby Political Redistricting Consulting say that, judging by 2010 census figures, it's time to consider redrawing local school district maps.
“The county is split up into five districts, and they are all supposed to have the same number of people,” Rigby began. “That's the one-person-one-vote rule. I don't know why they do it with total population; not voting-age population instead of registered voters. It's more about representing the people than getting votes.”
Rigby said that due to the 2010 census and a 2006 memorandum of understanding between the city and the county, the population figures inside the district boundaries have changed since the last redistricting in 2004.
“What you're looking for is if you're within the 10 percent variance between the lowest populated district and the highest populated district,” he explained. “Our problem is that we have a 20.52 variance where we should only have 10 percent or less.”
Using District 2 as an example, Rigby said that district's population count of 2,912 places the variance at 11.29, which means that school board member is representing too many people. With District 3's population of 2,375 and a variance of 9.23, that school board member is not representing enough people.
“So, the people in (District 3) are over represented, and those in (District 2) are under represented,” he said. “To keep everything fair, you redistrict.”
Rigby said another reason to redistrict is to avoid litigation.
“Somebody out there – and they like to do it – will sue you because you're not following Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act and you have inequal districts … and they will sue you,” he said. “It's a lot less expensive to redistrict to redistrict than to defend a lawsuit.”
Trustee Larry Walls cited a recent incident in which the updated map was not supplied to the Yazoo County Circuit Clerk's office, thereby causing confusion when an individual running for a seat on the county school board learned that he was living in the wrong district.
Rigby said he could prepare the materials for the redistricting for “less than $5,000 easy.”
According to information Rigby distributed during the meeting, with a total population among the five school districts, the ideal population in each district would be 2,617.
Currently, district one has 2,497 residents with 2,151 being white, 274 being black and 72 being other. In district one, there are 1,850 voting age residents with 1,608 being white, 197 being black and 45 others.
District two has 2,912 residents with 2,017 being white, 869 being black and 35 being other. In district two, there are 2,206 voting age residents with 1,560 being white, 634 being black and 12 other.
District three has 2,375 residents with 1,630 being white, 714 being black and 31 other. The district has 1,773 voting-age residents with 1,241 being white, 511 being black and 21 other.
District four has 2,626 residents with 1,000 being white, 1,607 being black and 19 others. The district has 1,983 voting-age residents with 842 being white, 1,129 being black and 12 other.
District five has 2,673 residents with 1,251 being white, 1,365 being black and 57 other. The district has 1,886 voting-age residents with 1,004 being white, 844 being black and 38 other.
All five districts contain 8,049 white residents; 4,820 black residents; and 214 other. There is a total of 9,698 voting-age residents with 6,255 being white; 3,315 being black; and 128 being other.