The board is required by the state to reassess district lines based on population to ensure each voting district is equally represented, board attorney John Taylor said Tuesday. To fall within state guidelines, there can be no more than a 5 percent variance in population among districts.
The school system worked with consultant Linda Meggers, retired head of the state Legislative Reapportionment Office, to come up with a proposal to equalize the districts. Based on the census data, each district’s ideal population goal is 9,578 people.
“We’re balancing the districts as carefully as we can so the voting power is equal among every district,” Taylor told the board at its meeting Tuesday evening.
Because of population changes since the 2000 census, the 2010 census shows that some districts range from more than 10 percent above to 19 percent below the ideal average. Troup’s population increased by almost 9,000 people since 2000 and the eastern side of the county benefited the most, while the western side stayed constant and some areas along Interstate 85 saw a population decrease.
District 7, which encompasses much of the east side of LaGrange, was the least populated, lacking 1,819 people to meet the ideal population goal. Under the proposed new map, it would gain a portion of the existing District 5 starting from the east side of Young’s Mill Road, running up to North Barnard Avenue and Northwoods Drive to West Meadow Way Drive, then going south to Greenville Street, where it rejoins the existing district.
District 5, which includes areas outlying LaGrange from the northeastern part of West Point Lake to Interstate 85, lacked 979 people. It would gain a portion of District 3 from the north side of Greenville Road to the area near its intersection with Boddie Road, where it turns north and then follows the west side of Towns Road, then runs along the northern part of Interstate 85 for about a mile, then due west to Hogansville Road, where it rejoins the current district.
District 3 includes much of the northeastern area of the county’s unincorporated area and Hogansville. It is 714 people above the ideal population, so the area it would give to District 5 would put it in compliance.
District 1 covers the east side of West Point up to LaGrange, bordered by West Point Road and Interstate 85 with a portion south of Webb-Bartley and Shoemaker roads that extends to Whitesville Road. The district is 1,466 people below the ideal population, so the proposed map would extend it from Shoemaker Road along the west side of Bartley and Whitesville roads up to Interstate 85, where it would rejoin its current border.
The District 1 extension would take from District 2, equalizing its 885 people over the ideal population. Districts 4 and 6, which are along West Point Lake, would not change.
The maps showing the proposed changes will be on display at the school system administration building at 100 N. Davis Road, Building C, during regular business hours. The board also is expected to hold a public hearing at its December caucus meeting and subsequently vote to approve the map, which will then require approval by the legislature.
Matthew Strother can be reached at mstrother @lagrangenews. com or (706) 884-7311, Ext. 229.