Questions remain about new Fayette BoE district voting map
The new voting district map based on the 2010 Census was approved last week by the Fayette County Board of Education.
The new map will be used in the coming months for anyone wishing to qualify for the three school board seats held by Terri Smith (District 2), Marion Key (District 3) and Janet Smola (District 1), all of whom are up for re-election. [To download a pdf copy of the new map, click on the link at the bottom of this story.]
The qualifying period will be held in late May, followed by the party primaries on July 31.
The District 5 seat held by appointee Leonard Presberg will also be up for election in November if or when the lawsuit agreement between the Fayette Branch of the NAACP and the school board is signed by U.S. District Court Judge Timothy C. Batten, Sr.
The changes in the new district map approved by the school board on Jan. 9 are not dramatic but they are noteworthy. The changes are due to a 16.8 percent increase in Fayette’s population between 2000 and 2010. That percentage increase, amounting to approximately 15,300 additional residents, required that the five districts be re-drawn as they are every 10 years to accommodate the increase. School board members are required to maintain residence in the district they represent.
What will presumably be different this election period is that the candidates will have to be elected only by the residents residing in the specific districts as opposed to the customary countywide method.
This is due to the lawsuit settlement agreement between the Board of Education and the Fayette Branch of the NAACP that will result in district voting for school board seats throughout the county.
As of press time there was no word as to whether Judge Batten has signed the Consent Decree agreed to last week between the school board and the NAACP.
The increase in Fayette’s population caused District 1 to lose a small, less populated area in its north side but to gain a significant amount of geography in the unincorporated area east of Tyrone. As before, District 1 also includes Tyrone and portions of the north side of Peachtree City. The new map also shows District 1 extending further into Peachtree City’s north side.
The old map showed District 2 encompassing Fayette’s only semi-rural area situated south of Fayetteville and south and east of Peachtree City. By far the county’s largest geographic district, the change in the 2010 map shows the district gaining a small portion of its area just east of Peachtree City and gaining a larger portion of the area on the south side of Fayetteville.
District 3 includes a large part of Peachtree City. The district on the new map lost portions of its north side to District 1 and a small portion of land immediately to the east of the city.
District 4 which encompasses Fayetteville and the surrounding areas lost portions of its south side to District 2 but gained areas to the west of the city where it now meets up with the enlarged District 1.
And in District 5 that includes north Fayette, the changes in the new map include shrinking in the area east of Tyrone now included in District 1 while picking up the area north of Tyrone.
To download a pdf copy of the new map, click on the link at the bottom of this story. The new school board district map also is available on the school system’s website at www.fcboe.org in the school board’s agenda packet for the Jan. 9 board meeting. The map is in the agenda section entitled “Consideration and action to adopt a new map and districting plans.”
So what about qualifying for the new districts? Board members Smith, Key and Smola are up for re-election in their respective districts. Qualifying will take place for two and a half days on May 23-25 and the primary election will be held on July 31.
And what about the stipulation in the lawsuit agreement that calls for District 5 board member Leonard Presberg to be up for election in November? Presberg was recently selected by the school board to fill the unexpired term of the late Sam Tolbert. Prior to the lawsuit settlement agreement, that term was to extend through 2014.
As for how the District 5 qualifying and election will play out is currently unknown, according to Fayette County Elections and Voter Registration director Tom Sawyer.
The methodology of the qualifying and election may have to be determined by the Georgia Secretary of State when, or if, the consent decree is signed.