Critics Furious After Redrawn School Districts Pass

The Georgia legislature was instructed in December 2023 to create new election boundaries for the Cobb Board of Education by mid-January.

Maps supplied by Cobb Republican lawmakers and created by a legal company hired by the Cobb County School District were rejected by a federal judge in Atlanta in 2021.

Parents and progressive advocacy organizations sued, arguing that the revised maps violated the U.S. Voting Rights Act and were racially gerrymandered.

Post 6, encompassing the Walton and Wheeler high school clusters, was forced out of East Cobb and into the Cumberland, Smyrna, and Vinings region by those maps.

After a federal court declared that the state’s second-largest school system’s school board districts were unconstitutionally discriminatory, the Georgia state Senate advanced a measure to redraw those districts this week.

Democrats, however, caution that the Republican-backed plan does not address the racial inequality that prompted U.S. system Judge Eleanor Ross to compel the Cobb County school system to refrain from using the map for the May 2024 election—which would feature contests for four board members.

Cobb residents have supported Democrats in past statewide elections, and the districts have created a 25% Republican advantage.

A group of Cobb County citizens and liberal political organizations filed the lawsuit, which claims Republicans illegally combined minorities into three voting districts in the south part of the suburban Atlanta county, strengthening their hold on the remaining four districts.

Ross concurred, claiming that the map’s creators placed an undue emphasis on race.

The map is up next in the House for more discussion. Ross would have the last say on whether it meets legal muster if Congress grants it final clearance. If Congress does not move swiftly, Ross may create a map without consulting them.

Recent years have seen political strife in the 106,000-student district, with the GOP majority frequently imposing its way over the objections of the three Democratic members.

The district filed an appeal with the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, claiming the plaintiffs are using the litigation to attempt a Democratic takeover of the board. In two perplexing decisions last week, a three-judge appeals court panel denied the school board’s reinstatement while another judge upheld Ross’ injunction that day.