Madison County school district election districts could change in 2020

By NIKKI ROWELL,

Residents of Madison County could see a change in their school board election districts following the 2020 United States census.

With more than 13,000 students, Madison County School District is the fifth largest school district in Mississippi. The school system is divided into five districts, with each having its own representative on the school board.

However, the size and shape of these districts is not determined by the number of students in the schools within the district, but by the resident population.

Considering the rapid growth in Madison County, there could be a need for adjustments to the districts.

Taking a look at the Madison County School District election districts map, the first thing one will notice is likely the odd shapes of each one.

As for how they’re drawn, former superintendent Mike Kent said the law at both the state and federal level outlines the requirements for these election districts.

“It’s really a product of the law,” Kent said. “The law requires that you evaluate the need to redistrict every 10 years.”

He said each district cannot have more than a 5 percent difference in population from one to the other. This ensures that members of the school board represent approximately the same number of constituents.

To determine this, Kent said they look closely at census figures and board member district lines.

“And if the population numbers aren’t all out of whack, then you’ll just leave them as they are,” Kent said. “The board of supervisors have the same issue.”

Kent said school district officials work with a demographer and consultant to review the information and ensure that the population numbers are in order and that there is at least one majority-minority district.

If those factors are not in order, then the consultant helps redraw the lines to address the issue. Then, the new map goes before the school board for approval.

Kent said the board has worked with a few different firms over the years to ensure that their school board election districts were in order.

The map was last reviewed around 10 years ago in 2010, according to Kent. So, the school district will soon review that information again to ensure that the election districts are up to date with population growth in Madison County.

One of the biggest challenges for the district over the years has been keeping up with the decline in population in District Five, according to Kent.

District Four and District Five have required the most adjustments to deal with changes in population, he said. District Five is large and has such an interesting shape to accommodate the change in population.

According to Holmes Adams, legal counsel for the school district, they will analyze the board districts again once they receive the U.S. decennial census information following the 2020 census.

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