Only two current Racine Unified school board members would run against each other if the Board of Education accepts one of two proposed board redistricting maps required by state law for the April 2016 election.
Members of the redistricting – or Apportionment – committee are presenting Monday two options to the school board they say equitably divides 139,000 Racine Unified residents into nine new districts of around 15,400 each. The committee was also required to keep the districts along municipal boundary lines as much as possible.
The committee met regularly in September in order to have proposals ready so the board can vote on one ahead of the Nov. 1 deadline, a story in The Journal Times reads.
New districts with assigned seats are required after a state law went into effect with the new biennial budget that Republican lawmakers say gives residents in Caledonia, Mount Pleasant and Sturtevant a voice on the Board of Education. The move is widely considered a measure to appease folks living in the villages who are pushing for an independent school district or districts.
Apportionment Committee Chair and school board member Mike Frontier told the newspaper he thinks the district options are a fair representation of the RUSD community, but he admits in both options only he and Pamela Handrow would be forced to run against each other.
School board President Melvin Hargrove and board member Don Nielsen, for example, live in different wards in the same aldermanic district. However, both proposed maps place them in different districts which would force the city to print additional ballots to account for the school board election.
Hargrove agreed with Frontier’s assessment of the maps.
“I believe we have been true to what the state has asked of us,” he is quoted as saying. “There has been a true attempt to be very transparent and to stay to true to the numbers first.”
The Board of Education will begin reviewing the proposals during the 6 p.m. meeting Monday at the Racine Unified administrative offices, 3109 Mount Pleasant Street.