County, school board still working district plan

Published 11:00 pm Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Pike County Commission reconvened Thursday evening to discuss redistricting plans with the Pike County Board of Education.

Dorman Walker, attorney for Balch & Bingham, LLP, addressed the county commission and the BOE on redistricting matters.

“What both bodies need to do is come up with a redistricting plan,” Walker said. “The recommendation I make to both bodies is a 2 percent total deviation.”

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In order to ensure a fair voting system, Walker said the districts must be evenly distributed.

Current numbers show District 1 is overpopulated by 274 people, District 2 is over by 85 people, District 3 is under by 274 people, District 4 is under by 15 people, District 5 is under by 319 people and District 6 is over by 180 people.

A decision as to how to come up with a viable redistricting solution was not reached, however, due in large part to a discrepancy with demographic numbers.

Because of that issue alone, the county commission recessed until next Thursday, July 21, where the county commission and the BOE will again meet at 5:30 p.m. at the BOE main office to discuss redistricting with accurate demographics.

“I’m going to have to talk to the demographer and figure it out,” Walker said. “Obviously, there is a miscommunication somewhere.”

Walker said he believes the change in numbers concerning which district was either over or under-populated were correct, at least according to the most current demographic report dated June 14.

“What really needed to happen is there needed to be an opportunity for these two government bodies that have different areas of operations to get together and have some initial talk about the need to work together in coming up with a district plan,” Walker said. “What we’ll now be able to do is get them together, and hopefully they’ll meet up individually over the course of the week, before next Thursday, for example the commissioner and the board member from District 1 and so forth. They know what direction the changes need to go, whether to add or lose people. My hope is that by the end of the work session next week is that we’ll have a close, or very close to final plan.”

Linda Steed, president of the school board, said she was going to take the updated information the demographer had and work from that in order to “come up with a workable redistricting plan” for both the county commission and the BOE.

“Ten years ago that’s what we did, we worked together,” Steed said. “We came up with a redistricting plan that was presented.”

Steed said the recessed meeting would give the BOE and the county commission time to adequately address the issue of redistricting.

“All we want to do is to come up with a workable plan that will benefit both entities,” Steed said.