Gwinnett school board to oversee redistricting proposal

The Gwinnett County Board of Education is partnering with the state’s Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment Office to re-draw the board’s five single-member districts based on last year’s census results.. (Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS)
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The Gwinnett County Board of Education is partnering with the state’s Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment Office to re-draw the board’s five single-member districts based on last year’s census results.. (Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS)

Credit: TNS

The Gwinnett County Board of Education recently decided to partner with the state’s Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment Office to re-draw the board’s five single-member districts based on last year’s census results.

With a unanimous vote, the board started the process of developing proposed maps.

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Gwinnett County had more than 957,000 residents last year, according to the decennial census, a 19% increase over 2010. Updated population counts must be used to redraw single-member district boundaries so each has an equal number of constituents plus or minus 1%, according to the law.

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All maps eventually go through the Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment Office, which certifies them before the state legislature votes on them. The governor must sign to approve the new boundaries.

The school board could have decided to use Gwinnett County Public Schools staff or a third party, such as a law firm, for developing maps. The school district’s executive director of administration and policy, Jorge Gomez, suggested the reapportionment office because it has the expertise to make sure the process follows the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and other legal standards.

“We want to make sure that we keep that process fair, stable and legal,” Gomez said.

The board will decide on the principles it would like to guide redistricting. For example, Gomez said, the board could propose to redraw the maps with the least amount of change to current voting districts, or to better align the districts with high school clusters, which would entail more change.