“You don’t care about the taxpayers!” shouted Heather Tolley-Bauer, a parent and co-founder of Watching the Funds-Cobb who opposed the district’s involvement in the suit, as she walked out of the school board meeting following the vote.
Board members did not publicly discuss the motions, but Sayler posted on Facebook Wednesday that she has not been a fan of the district’s involvement in the suit, and intended to look into ways to increase accountability.
“Regardless of who or what this lawsuit was about, we should not be in the practice of handing blank checks to vendors,” she said.
Voting rights groups, led by the Southern Poverty Law Center, sued the Cobb County Board of Elections in 2022 over new maps for the seven Cobb school board voting districts. They alleged that the maps were discriminatory and “packed” people of color into small areas to dilute their voting power.
The school district joined the case as an intervenor in an effort to defend the maps. A judge in July ruled that it is not liable in the case. The Board of Elections opted to settle the case in October, which means the maps could be redrawn ahead of the 2024 election.
After news of the settlement, a message from Freeman, Mathis & Gary LLP was sent directly to Cobb families through the district’s learning system. The message lambasted “leftist political activists,” sparking backlash from local Democrats and some parents.
Specifically, the message condemned “the array of liberal activist groups affiliated with Stacey Abrams and the Democratic Party.” Hutchins moved that the references to Abrams and the Democratic Party be removed, arguing the suit is a local issue that they have nothing to do with.
In response to recent questions from the AJC about the lawsuit, the district’s attorneys said in a statement that Cobb intends to continue submitting “legal arguments and expert testimony” to prove that the current map is lawful.