Monday, February 13, 2012

Nancy Jester: The Latest on Redistricting the DeKalb County School Board

Nancy Jester won the District 1 seat on the DeKalb County Board of Education. She received 55 percent of Tuesday's vote.
As you probably know, the DeKalb House delegation met last week to consider the reapportionment and, pursuant to SB79, reduction of the DeKalb County Board of Education.  I was in attendance at their meeting and you can view the video posted on John Heneghan's blog by clicking here.  It's an interesting and enlightening view of the Body Politic that is the legislative delegation from DeKalb. 

The subcommittee of the delegation presented a 5-member map as their sole recommendation but could not garner enough signatures for approval.

I must note that it was inaccurate for any of the Representatives to state that they had not received maps from board members.  Just as with the county commissioners, individual board members presented maps to the subcommittee and Representatives within the delegation.  I was in attendance at a public meeting where Mr. Womack (BOE rep., district 4) and Mr. McChesney (BOE rep., district 2) presented maps to the subcommittee.  Furthermore, I have presented a map that was endorsed by three BOE representatives. 

As I stated last year during the discussion surrounding SB79, I was concerned about the mechanics of shrinking the BOE.  I asked repeatedly for guidance on how this was to be accomplished.  I saw conflicting legal requirements that would make it difficult to accomplish the goals of those advancing this idea.  Furthermore, I disagreed (based on important statistical distinctions) with the thesis that a smaller board will somehow be a "better" board in DeKalb.  But, in the political realm, this was a "win" for legislators despite the complexity.  As predicted, we are now faced with the difficulties and unintended consequences of last year's legislative actions.  

Please note that I still believe that the map that is placed on my website (click here to view it) is best map for DeKalb.  I have worked on an alternative map that combines some of the attributes of a map presented by Reps. Oliver and Benfield (OB map) with my original map.  Click here to go to my blog to view this updated map

Here are just a few of the reasons I believe that my alternative map (TJ map) is an improvement to the OB map:  
  • The TJ map is the most likely to pass judicial scrutiny and compliance testing based on the traditional redistricting principles of  "compactness" and "dispersion".  The districts in our map are more compact than those of the OB map and represent a low dispersion quality.  They will have more favorable compliance numbers on both the Plosby-Popper scale and Reock/convex hull measurements.   
  • High School attendance lines (the main design feature of the OB map) change and schools close.  The DCSS planning department has stated that redistricting for school zones will occur more frequently than in the past.  If we are building districts on the current attendance areas, they will soon be incongruent with each other.   
  • It complies with SB79.
  • It keeps communities of interest united.  
Please email your legislators once again and ask them to support the TJ map.  

Late breaking news: Sen. Millar has developed a bill to delay the implementation of SB79 so that the complex issues surrounding it can be worked out.  Stayed tuned...

As always, I am available if you have any questions or concerns.   

--Nancy Jester

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Anyone that can use "Plosby-Popper scale and Reock/convex hull measurements' in a sentence gets my full attention.

I think that Sen. Millar's most recent action to block SB79 speaks volumes.

I am concerned about the ten-year look forward for our public schools, if DeKalb cannot get this matter settled positively. Little else is worse for a community than a failed school board model.