BAKER — The School Board unanimously approved a revised redistricting plan Tuesday.
City attorney Winston DeCuir explained that the changes were necessary because the plan approved by the board in October did not comply with state law.
During a review before sending the redistricting plan to the U.S. Justice Department, DeCuir discovered that two precincts were divided among three different districts. Though such a division is allowed under federal law, state law mandates that precincts be split into no more than two districts, he said.
The necessary modifications were minor, DeCuir said.
He added that the plan must be approved by Dec. 31 and sent to the Justice Department for final acceptance. If adopted, the new districts will be effective for the 2014 election.
Before the revision, precincts 2-2 and 2-4 were divided among districts 1, 4 and 5, which are represented by Elaine Davis, Shona Boxie and Doris Alexander, respectively.
District 4 is bordered to the north by Groom Road. District 5 is directly to the south of District 4 and is divided from District 1 to the south by La. 3006 (Lavey Lane).
In discussing the revised districts, demographer Edward Wisham, who has worked with the board on the plan, mentioned that while Boxie lived in District 4 when she was elected in 2010, she has since moved to Myrtle Street, which is in District 5.
Alexander, who represents District 5, lives on Epperson Street, one street over from Myrtle Street.
“So during the next election (in 2014), we will run against each other,” Alexander said.
“Not necessarily,” Boxie countered.
“She can run under her old address (in District 4) if she still owns the property and can prove that she lives there,” Wisham said.
At the end of the meeting, board member Troy Watson mentioned that during a visit to a nail salon, she overheard a group of girls discussing a fight at Baker Middle School.
“The board needs to consider a zero tolerance policy. The middle school is out of control,” Watson said.
Superintendent Ulysses Joseph said that he was aware of the incident. “There was no fight. It was all talk about something heard on YouTube or Facebook or whatever book,” he said. He added that he plans to meet with Baker Middle School Principal Josie Williams about the incident.