Lost in all of the news about gerrymandered maps has been the reality that Wake County school board and commissioner maps approved by state lawmakers also take effect this voting cycle.
These local maps were drawn by the state legislature whose majority party claims to be against over-reaching government. The main argument for drawing new lines was that some voters do not live in the same district where their children attend school.
I sat in the committee meeting and heard this argument. In fact, I stood up and explained to the committee that this was not an issue. I live in District 7 but all my schools are in District 6. This is not a problem. I have developed a relationship with my District 6 school board representative and have been attending the District 6 Board Advisory Committee meetings for seven years.
The current maps are drawn geographically so I have gotten to know the other principals at our feeder schools as well as parent representatives from other schools nearby.
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Lawmakers drew new maps anyway. Not only do the new maps not solve the “problem” of living in one district and attending school in another, they make matters worse. As for me, I will now live in District 2. Our base middle school, Carroll, which is the farthest of our base schools, is also in District 2. However, our base elementary school, Lynn Road (1.5 miles away) and our base high school, Sanderson, are in District 5.
Some areas of our county are now even more complicated. Many families attend Lacy, Daniels and Broughton. They used to all live and go to school in District 6. In the new maps, Lacy is in District 5, Daniels is in District 2 and Broughton is in District 3. District 1 is so large and spread out that it makes any collaboration between the school board representative and principals and parents of those schools logistically impossible.
The redrawing of these maps clearly had nothing to do with families and their schools being in the same districts. This is all about political gerrymandering. It is no coincidence that the new maps group many of our current school board representatives in the same districts so they have to run against each other for re-election.
All Wake County residents should feel insulted by these new maps. Not only are our votes being manipulated, but once again our over-reaching General Assembly is making political decisions about public education in our county that have nothing to do with what is best for the education of our students.
Mary Jane Swecker lives in Raleigh.