Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to clarify the two different redistricting processes.
BY KARISSA MILLER
The Iredell-Statesville Schools Board of Education has begun discussing criteria for redrawing boundaries for voting districts.
Data on I-SS’ seven districts — each of which is represented by an elected board member — was presented to the school board on Wednesday by attorneys Adam Mitchell and Bill Gilkeson during a work session at The Wave Church in Statesville.
The data showed that the northern end of the county, or District 1, has lost 16.07 percent of its population, while the fast-developing Troutman area has grown by 27.10 percent.
Mitchell explained to the board members that they are allowed to deviate from the census numbers by as much as +/- 5 percent within individual districts, giving them some flexibility when redrawing boundaries.
Voting on redistricting will be voted on in an open session, and the process should be as transparent as possible, Mitchell said.
Mitchell told the board that there were different approaches to redistricting. They could “preserve the core of existing districts,” which means they would use the district’s current maps and make as few changes as possible.
Another option is what he called a “clean slate approach.”
“The complete other end of the spectrum — we start with a blank map and then we draw districts from there,” Mitchell said.
Soon-to-be sworn-in school board member Bryan Shoemaker said he preferred the clean slate approach to redistricting. The board agreed with his suggestion.
The superintendent said that the district is about three months behind in the redistricting process due to the late census data.
Future High School Redistricting
Meanwhile, the community is already asking about possible boundaries for the new high school.
The primary aim of school boundary redistricting is to reduce overcrowding in schools while addressing racial and economic equity.
As a result, the school board is beginning the process of looking at attendance lines and how they would be affected by opening the new school.
Board member Doug Knight said he preferred to have this effort handled by I-SS staff as much as possible to cut down on costs.
“We’ve got to look at the whole district — not just the high schools,” said board member Sam Kennington.
The system will work with its student mapping system to look at different scenarios for the new school boundaries.
The district is working with the Urban Institute to make sure all of our district meets the legal boundaries
“There have been court cases on redistricting. When the Urban Institute checks off everything, they have 40 years of expertise. They look at all the scenarios,” Superintendent Jeff James said.
In the coming days, James will develop a punch list for the board members and have them rank their priorities on redistricting.
♦ The next meeting on redistricting will be on September 29 at 5 p.m. at the Career Academy and Technical School, 350 Old Murdock Road in Troutman. All meetings are open to the public.
♦ If the board approves the map, they will hold a public hearing on October 4 at 5 p.m. before the Committee of the Whole meeting. The public hearing is an opportunity for everyone to weigh in on the redistricting map.
♦ The board plans to vote on the redistricting resolution on October 11 during their 6 p.m. meeting.