SP Boundary lines

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 1, 2011

SP trustees tweak boundary lines to reflect 2010 census

By Rupert Howell

South Panola school trustees agreed to recommend Redistricting plan Alternate 2 that would slightly change boundaries in the school’s sub-districts while addressing population deviation percentages and conform to the one-man, one-vote rule using numbers from the recent census.

The school district roughly covers the Second Judicial District or south half of Panola County. The district is divided into five sub-districts with a trustee board member elected every year on a rotating five-year schedule.

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Trustee board attorney Colmon Mitchell explained that although a public hearing was not required by law, it was a recommendation of the Justice Department which must approve the new boundaries under the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

A public hearing has yet to be set but Mitchell recommended that board members consider scheduling one for citizen input and explanation.

One change in the recommended plan addresses a small area between Upton and Chickasaw roads that was confusing to voters who are in the Pope School District but vote for a different trustee than others in Pope’s district.

Another change involves a census block between Goodwin Creek, Baker Road, Goodhope Road and Eureka Road that is being moved from District Two to District Three which currently split the block.

“We try to avoid splitting Census blocks where possible,” Slaughter & Associates’, who is tasked with redistricting, explanation reads.

Another census block is split  between Districts 4 & 5 and the proposed change would move the line from an abandoned Road east of Terza Road north of Highway 6 to the centerline of Terza Road. There are few residents in this area.

The other change is between Districts One and Five and is an attempt to regulate overall population deviation.

The recommended proposal shifts population north of Highway 35  and Bethlehem Road currently in District Five to District One lowering the District Five population and raising District One approximately 350.

Recommended changes bring total deviation down from 13.5 percent to 3.6 percent. Districts need to have less than 10 percent deviation. (Please see related map)