Advocate for a Fair & Equitable Reapportionment of our School Board following the 2020 Census
In 2014 our School Board was pressured by the business community to reapportion itself. It had just been reapportioned in 2012, but there was a key difference in 2014: the Supreme Court had struck down key provisions of the Voting Rights Act the year before and Congress had since failed to renew it. Consequently, the 2014 reapportionment of our School Board was not subject to the review of the Department of Justice. It not only remapped the districts. It reduced the number of districts by 2. Opponents of the 2014 reapportionment argued the smaller Board would allow special interests a disproportionate influence in elections. Recent election outcomes suggest it has.
The 2014 reapportionment reduced the number of seats on our School Board from 11 to 9. (Only two years before, the Board had reduced the number of districts from 12 to 11.) This reduction dramatically enlarged the size of the districts, which favors out-of-state financial interests that can donate large sums to influence the outcome of our local elections. The 2014 plan also “cracks and packs” the districts, a practice generally recognized as a means to undermine the voting strength of targeted populations. District 7 is a prime example. The neighborhoods of old South Baton Rouge, the Garden District, Gardere, and Kenilworth are divided—cracked—in halves. Such cracking undermines a community’s ability to influence elections or hold elected officials accountable.
If we want to have a functional democracy, we must have a fair apportionment of the School Board districts.