Richmond County school board approves redistricting plan

Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2011 9:28 PM
Last updated Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2011 6:35 PM
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The Richmond County school board accepted a compromise on district lines Tuesday that the Augusta Commission rejected last week.

Richmond County Board of Education Acting Superintendent James Whitson (from left), Board President Alex Howard and Secretary Crystal Jackson listen during a presentation. The board accepted a compromise on district lines Tuesday that the Augusta Commission rejected last week.  Chris Thelen/Staff
Chris Thelen/Staff
Richmond County Board of Education Acting Superintendent James Whitson (from left), Board President Alex Howard and Secretary Crystal Jackson listen during a presentation. The board accepted a compromise on district lines Tuesday that the Augusta Commission rejected last week.

The board voted 7-3 – with Jimmy Atkins, Helen Minchew and Jack Padgett Jr. opposed – to endorse the plan that adjusts district lines for school board and Augusta Commission members based on 2010 census data.

Several board members had some sharp comments before the vote.

Jack Padgett said at the last meeting of the ad hoc committee – composed of four members each of the commission, school board and legislative delegation – the compromise plan known as “3R” was hashed out after more than three hours of negotiation. Even though he was part of the unanimous vote supporting it, he criticized the plan Tuesday in part for drawing District 2 from downtown “almost to Burke County.”

“Some of the configurations don’t make a lot of sense geographically,” he said. “I hope this might be kicked up to people with wiser minds to make a wiser decision.”

Barnes, who was on the committee with board members Frank Dolan, Venus Cain and Padgett, started his response by saying, “I hate to do what I’m gonna do right now.” He took issue with Padgett’s characterization of the compromise. The committee, Barnes said, voted on two plans, Plans 2 and 3, and each received five votes for and against, with Barnes and Cain abstaining to leave both votes at a tie.

“Mr. Padgett is not being honest,” Barnes said. “I’m through.”

Minchew said her issue with the committee’s plan is that while it reunites the Sandridge neighborhood, which currently is split between districts, several others that are united now get split, including a couple of neighborhoods in her district.

Cain, the board vice president, agreed with Barnes, adding that it was Commissioner Jerry Brigham who came up with the numbers the plan uses for District 6, represented by Padgett and Commissioner Joe Jackson. As drawn in the redistricting plan, the district’s population is 60.6 percent black, the lowest percentage of the five majority-black districts, not counting Super Districts 9 and 10.

“He worked out the numbers,” Cain said of Brigham. “He asked us to agree. We bent a little more. We met Commissioner Brigham where he wanted to be. Then he gets to the commission and hollers foul play.”

Board President Alex Howard said he was “proud” of Cain’s and Barnes’ actions on the committee, and credited Padgett and Dolan with helping craft the compromise plan that was approved.

IN OTHER BUSINESS

The Richmond County school board Tuesday:

• Voted 9-1, with Frank Dolan opposed, to name its next magnet school the South Augusta Career Technical Magnet School.

• Unanimously approved participating in a tax allocation district with Augusta-Richmond County to allow the city to finance infrastructure improvements at the site on Doug Barnard Parkway announced as the location for a Rockwood Color Pigment and Services plant. The district uses property tax increments that increase as the site develops.

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Little Lamb
46074
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Little Lamb 12/14/11 - 09:06 am
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I vote that the South Augusta

I vote that the South Augusta Career Technical Magnet School is the single worst school name in the CSRA.

Little Lamb
46074
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Little Lamb 12/14/11 - 09:08 am
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Okay, by participating in the

Okay, by participating in the tax allocation district for the chemical plant, the school board is giving up school tax money to the city for water and sewer lines for the plant. Remember that the next time the school board poor mouths about not having enough money for its programs.

dichotomy
33098
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dichotomy 12/14/11 - 09:29 am
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All of these plans are

All of these plans are splitting neighborhoods and reducing their ability to be represented as people with common interests on local issues. Nobody in the courts or the government cares about your right to be represented by someone who is concerned with your neighborhood. As long as we get the onesies and twosies numbers of black vs. white within the quota everything is hunky dory. So now we get multiple districts where the representatives are not concerned with their constituent's issues. Of course, I'm in the south end of the county so I am used to that kind of representation. Here, take my tax money and give it to PS and his LLC. If you have any left over, go over to Laney Walker and throw it up in the air and let the wind spread it around. That will satisfy the only two real "districts" that get represented in this county.....the rich white "district" and downtown black "district". Just leave me enough to buy ammunition and sandbags 'cause that's the "disctrict" I live in.....the Beirut district....no matter how you slice and dice it.

Little Lamb
46074
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Little Lamb 12/14/11 - 09:40 am
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Dichotomy wrote: Nobody in

Dichotomy wrote:

Nobody in the courts or the government cares about your right to be represented by someone who is concerned with your neighborhood.

I'm sorry, Dichotomy, but there is no politician who really cares about your neighborhood. Or mine, for that matter.

seenitB4
87453
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seenitB4 12/14/11 - 09:50 am
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From downtown almost to Burke

From downtown almost to Burke county.....How crazy is THAT???

dichotomy said..
As long as we get the onesies and twosies numbers of black vs. white within the quota everything is hunky dory.

Yep & that is insane----that is killing Richmond county...

Craig Spinks
817
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Craig Spinks 12/14/11 - 10:54 am
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Do any of the following

Do any of the following quotes bear any significance for A-RC?

"A house divided against itself cannot stand."

"United we stand; divided we fall."

"We'll either hang together or we'll be hanged individually."

"Before I conquer, I must first divide."

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