New Governing Board Election Wards Okayed by Department of Justice
The Phoenix Union High School District Governing Board election ward boundaries, which were redrawn as a result of a redistricting process earlier this year, have been approved by the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division.
A July 30 letter from the Department of Justice stated that “the Attorney General does not interpose any objection to the specified change.”
The new election wards will not be in effect until the 2014 Governing Board election, when the five ward seats are on the ballot. The 2012 election will determine the two at-large members of the seven-member board.
The new map was approved by the Governing Board in March, and submitted to the Department of Justice for pre-clearance. The new boundaries are based on decennial census information in order to keep each of the five wards as “nearly equal” in population, as possible, and in conformance with voting rights requirements. Because of rapid population growth in some areas of the school district, and population loss in other areas, new ward boundaries had to be created.
Based on the 2010 Census, each ward should have an “ideal” total population size of 130,518, without diminishing minority voting representation. The adopted map has wards ranging in population from 128,094 to 131,288 residents. The greatest change came in Ward 1 in Southwest Phoenix and Laveen, which went from 169,000 residents to 131,000. Wards 2, 3 and 4 added 12,000-17,000 more residents in the new alignment.
The percent of voting age minority residents increased from 57% to 69% in Ward 4, but dropped two percentage points (39% to 37%) in Ward 3, the only ward that had less than 50% voting age minority residents. Four of the five wards are minority-majority wards, and minority representation was not diminished.
The Governing Board considered a “Least Change” map and the “Voter Rights Emphasis” map, both developed with public input at community meetings, and from proposed maps submitted by the public via an online mapping program. The two proposed maps were created by consultant Research Advisory Services, Inc., and reviewed by Calderon Law Offices.
Current PUHSD Board Members are Randy Schiller, Ward 1; Ricardo Gallego, Ward 2; Amy Kobeta, Ward 3; Laura Pastor, Ward 4; Linda Abril, Ward 5; Ben Miranda and Lela Alston, At-Large.
The adopted map with realigned ward boundaries is available for download here, with demographic background information and side-by-side comparisons with the current map.
CURRENT PUHSD GOVERNING BOARD WARDS:NEWLY ADOPTED PUHSD GOVERNING BOARD WARDS: