Who are the Clayton County Board of Education district representatives
Although the federal district court’s proposed district map for the Clayton County Board of Education does identify districts by their number, it does not include names of who represents what district. Below is a key, with a list of school board members by district, that will serve as a key to deciphering the maps.
• District 1: Pam Adamson (bottom, blue area)
• District 2: Wanda Smith (pink area)
• District 3: Jessie Goree (yellow area)
• District 4: Michael King (top, green area)
• District 5: Ophelia Burroughs (central, purple area)
• District 6: Mary Baker (central, turquoise area)
• District 7: Trinia Garrett (top, gray area)
• District 8: Alieka Anderson (top, brown area)
• District 9: Charlton Bivins (orange area)
— Curt Yeomans
The Clayton County Board of Education is very close to finally being able to proceed with this year’s school board elections — albeit on a belated schedule.
Five of the nine school board seats are up for election this year. Federal District Court Judge Charles Pannell, Jr., issued an injunction last month, however, that barred the county from moving forward with the elections until a new map of the school board districts — based on 2010 census data — could be drawn.
The trouble began when the Georgia General Assembly wrapped up its 2011-2012 legislative session in April without approving a new, re-drawn map for the Clayton County Board of Education.
The current map for Clayton County’s school board districts is based on 12-year old population data, raising problems with the “one person, one vote” concept exposed in the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. A new, proposed map has been unveiled by the court, however, which sets the stage for the county to hold school board elections during the Nov. 6 General Election.
“That was the goal — to get the election done in time to get people seated on schedule [in January 2013],” said Clayton County Board of Education Chairperson Pam Adamson.
Members of the public have a very brief period of time — until Monday to be exact — to inspect the maps, and have their attorneys file any legal objections with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, according to a June 15 order Pannell issued for the release of the maps for inspection.
Adamson said the judge will then hear arguments from anyone who files opposition to the maps will be able to argue their opposition before Pannell during a hearing, slated to be held June 28, in Courtroom 2307 at the Richard B. Russell Federal Building and Courthouse, 75 Spring Street SW, Atlanta.
“The hearing is there so people can voice their opposition to the proposed maps, and then he’ll make a ruling on the map afterwards [at the hearing] unless people convince him to reconsider,” Adamson said.
The judge has ordered the maps to be made available for inspection “during the pendency of this case” in three locations, including:
• The office of the Clerk of Court of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, located on the 22nd floor of the Richard B. Russell Federal Building and Courthouse, 75 Spring Street SW, Atlanta.
• The Clayton County Public Schools Central Administration Complex, located at 105 Fifth Ave., in Jonesboro.
• The Clayton County Elections and Registration office, in the Historic Clayton County Courthouse located at 121 South McDonough Street, in Jonesboro.
As part of Pannell’s order, a legal notice about the maps is being run in the Clayton News Daily for the first time today. He also ordered it to be run in editions of the paper set to be published Friday and Saturday.
The maps ensure that each board member continues to reside in the districts they currently represent, although they just barely stayed in their district in some cases. In one case, Mary Baker, the District 6 school board member, lives right on the line separating her district from District 5, which is represented by School Board Member Ophelia Burroughs.
Adamson said the side of Fielder Road that Baker lives on is in the District 6, but the other side of the road is Burrough’s district.
“They made a conscious effort to keep everybody in their district,” the school board chairperson said.
Baker’s situation is similar to situations faced by four other school board members. Burroughs and fellow School Board Members Michael King (District 4), Trinia Garrett (District 7) and Charlton Bivins (District 9) live close to the lines that separate their districts from other school board districts.
Baker, Burroughs, Garrett and fellow School Board Members Wanda Smith (District 2), and Jessie Goree (District 3) are up for re-election this year.
Adamson said is pleased just to see a map drawn for the school board, but she added the proposed map drawn by the court is actually more balanced than the one the school board had proposed earlier to state legislators in January.
State law requires congressional, state legislative, school board and county commission districts to be evenly balanced, but it allows up to a five percent deviation, either above or below, the balanced figure.
The largest deviation under the court’s proposed redistricting plan, is in District 5, which is 0.48 percent below the balanced figure, according to population statistics released by Pannell.
“We got it to where we had about a two percent deviation in each district, but if you look at the map they have drawn up ... none of the districts get up to even a one percent deviation,” Adamson said.