Livingston board OKs new districts

Advocate, The (Baton Rouge, LA) - Saturday, December 10, 2011
LIVINGSTON - The Livingston School Board formally adopted a redistricting plan that would enlarge the geographic footprint of the parish's eastern districts in response to population growth on the parish's west side. 

Tuesday, the board approved by a 7-2 vote so-called "Plan A" which was recommended by the Committee of the Board as a Whole in late November. 

Under the new plan, approximately 2,200 voters in the Springfield area would be moved from District 8 to District 9. 

As a result, District 8 member Keith Martin would represent residents in the Port Vincent, French Settlement, Maurepas, Killian, Springfield and Frost school districts, he said. 

Sid Kinchen, who represents the Albany and Holden school districts, would also have some Frost voters, something he said was "not right." 

Frost is "25 to 30 minutes from my house," he said. 

James Watson, who represents Walker, said some of the changes were inevitable. 

"I have 18,000 people in my district and you can't have that," he said. 

The ideal district - based on U.S. census data - would have about 14,000 residents. 

Jeff Cox, of Walker, said he would lose some of the Corbin area north of Walker due to growth. 

Board members for Denham Springs and Watson said their districts would see few changes. 

Kinchen and Martin both voted against the plan. 

Several steps still remain before the plan would be put into effect, board attorney Carey T. Jones said. 

The board must hold three public information sessions during which parish residents may view and comment on maps of the proposed districts, he said. 

After that, the board must approve a formal resolution describing each of the districts. 

That resolution would then be sent by March to the U.S. Department of Justice for approval, Jones said.