The proposed new Dallas ISD administration districts are creating tensions over how to divide West Dallas voters, and some school board members fear that Latinos may be harmed in the entire redistribution process.
After reviewing drafts prepared by a team of lawyers and a demographer, DISD administrators said at a board meeting on Thursday that more revisions and clarifications are needed on proposed district maps. .
Much like at the Statehouse, Texas school districts are engaged in a redistribution, the process by which administrators strive to redesign their own districts to accommodate population growth and demographic changes over the past decade. .
The process involves complicated maneuvers and math, subtracting people from districts that have grown significantly and adding them to areas with less growth.
The goal is to have the largest district within 10% of the population of the smallest, a goal that becomes a moving target throughout the drawing process as each district changes.
Over the past decade, the fastest growing school districts have been clustered primarily in the southern and eastern sections of the school system. DISD added more than 100,000 people of voting age, with more than half of that influx identified as Hispanic.
Administrators reviewed three initial maps after holding community meetings that gathered feedback from residents.
“What confuses me about these three plans is why none of these plans respect the growth of the Latin American vote and Latino voters in Dallas ISD,” Administrator Joe Carreón said. “I expect that any maps provided to us, even in draft form, can legally stand. It’s not that.
Carreón pointed to one of the proposed maps for District 8, his district, which is located primarily in western Dallas but extends to a small portion of eastern Dallas. According to current maps, District 8 serves a population of which nearly two-thirds are Hispanic.
But according to the draft plans presented Thursday, about a third of citizens of voting age in the Carreón region are Hispanic.
The Carreón district is known as a Hispanic Opportunity Neighborhood, or an area where Hispanic residents have the opportunity to influence the outcome of the election, the administrator said after Thursday’s meeting.
“It’s important to make sure that the board really reflects the city it represents,” Carreón said. The morning news from Dallas. “We know how even when you have the population present, gerrymandering can dilute the vote or representation of some communities.”
Carreón believes his colleagues all want to maintain the existing neighborhoods of opportunity for Latino and black residents. Administrator Dustin Marshall lent his support to Carreón’s arguments on Thursday and expressed his own dismay at the early cards.
It appeared to her that significant efforts were being made to ensure that the African American opportunity districts remain, but little work has been invested in the Hispanic opportunity districts, Marshall said.
“I would throw the three aside and start over because there are much broader concerns than those reflected in these cards,” Marshall said. “I think those three cards would get us sued.”
Administrator Joyce Foreman rebuffed the claim that Hispanics would be adversely affected by the proposed remapping. She said administrators should consider the total Hispanic voting age population of the three Hispanic Opportunity Districts rather than just the number of Hispanic voting age citizens in the districts. In one of the proposals, the number of residents of voting age in each of the three districts would be over 55% Hispanic.
“If these aren’t Hispanic opportunity neighborhoods, I don’t know what they look like,” she said.
But unauthorized immigrants of voting age, as well as unregistered voters, could not vote in director elections.
Administrator Justin Henry then asked for clarification on whether the voting age population or the total voting age population mattered most when crafting new maps and implored his administrators to choose one. one in priority.
Further disputes erupted Thursday over who would represent West Dallas. Administrator Maxie Johnson, whose district currently includes a small portion of West Dallas near downtown and trails further south after Lancaster, said he had heard dissatisfied community members talk about the need to black representation in the region.
“I want people to know that the black community in West Dallas is offended,” Johnson said. “I am not going to let black people be kicked out of my community where I am pastor.”
According to the proposed maps presented on Thursday, Johnson said he would relinquish most of the West Side to the Carreón district, but kept a small portion that includes Pinkston High School, where the student body is more than a quarter black.
Henry pointed out how little time was left in the district to work on the redistribution.
“This is another meeting that we are leaving and it looks like we could start over,” Henry said.
DISD will move forward with more community meetings as administrators submit their own drafts to the team overseeing the redesign. Residents can also make their contribution through an online survey. Administrators expect to approve the final cards in mid-December which will go into effect for the 2022 election cycle.
In Austin, state lawmakers are engaged in a similar battle to redraw district boundaries, as people of color have been responsible for the majority of population growth over the past 10 years. Still, critics say the newly drawn maps ignore the fact that people of color make up 3.8 million of Texas’ 4 million new residents.
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