The dozen-member committee that is redrawing Augusta Commission and Richmond County school board district lines reviewed two new proposals Wednesday, including a fourth map based on Sen. Hardie Davis’ suggestions, which was promptly discarded.
In the end, the committee decided to choose between two other plans later this month.
Davis distanced himself from the map after the meeting, saying “there is no Plan 4.” Plan 4, which consultant Linda Meggers and Richmond County Elections Director Lynn Bailey said was based on Davis’ suggestions, drew District 4 to include all of Fort Gordon, where about 10,000 people live, but less than 10 percent are registered voters.
Committee members cited the Fort Gordon issue as they rejected the map, with committee Chairman Alvin Mason saying he had “vehement opposition” to any plan that puts the entire Army post in a single district.
Plan 3, also presented Wednesday, was based on committee recommendations during an earlier meeting to create districts not exceeding 70 percent black or multiracial, and to reunite Sand Ridge neighborhood into a single district. The map does reunite Sand Ridge in District 4 as it increases District 6 from 53 percent black to nearly 68 percent black.
District 6 school board member Jack Padgett Jr. said he “took a direct hit” from Plan 3, while school board member Frank Dolan said the proposal looked gerrymandered.
In Plan 3, no district is greater than 70 percent black, while Districts 3, 7 and 8 remain majority white. The plan includes several split precincts, brings all of the Goshen area into District 8 and extends District 7 nearly to Jimmie Dyess Parkway.
The committee, with three members absent, voted to eliminate the first and fourth plans and convene Nov. 29 to choose either Plan 2 or Plan 3 with any street-level “tweaks” members will recommend to Meggers.