UPDATE: Election Board Approves Final School Board Redistricting Map

Election Board chooses to ignore alternative map proposed by the School Board

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Kansas City, June 20, 2018:  UPDATE – The Kansas City Election Board (KCEB) approved the “Alternative 9” option as the final map of the new subdistrict boundaries for the soon-to-be revamped Kansas City Public Schools Board of Directors (School Board).

In April of 2019, the School Board will be reduced from nine to seven members. This will bring the School Board in line with state law. The current School Board includes six sub-district members and three at-large. The new Board will be comprised of five members representing sub-districts and two at-large members. To accommodate that change, the sub-district boundaries needed to be redrawn.

This redistricting process was planned and carried out by consultants hired by the Kansas City Board of Election Commissioners. The consultants held a series of presentations and engagement meetings with the public in order to share proposed new sub-district boundaries and gather feedback. The consultants then presented three recommended maps as options.

The KCEB decision on June 20 was made despite an alternative option created and supported by the School Board. “Alternative D” was designed to address community concerns about the new subdistricts, School Board Chair Melissa Robinson explained at the meeting. Those concerns included:

  • Population equality
  • Continuity, which refers to maintaining subdistricts as previously drawn, to the extent possible. This leads to continuity of representation.
  • Contiguity, which means that all parts of a subdistrict being connected at some point with the rest of the subdistrict.
  • Compactness, which means having the minimum distance between all the parts of a constituency.
  • Keeping long-standing communities together based on social, cultural, ethnic, and economic similarities. This ensures that the boundaries will not dilute the voting strength of racial or language minority populations. It also ensures that the boundaries will not degrade a voter’s or a group of voters influence on the political process as a whole.

All three of the options provided by the consultants failed to meet at least one of the criteria listed above. Community members also expressed concern about the fact that the School Board redistricting process was being done with data from the 2010 census, Ms. Robinson added.

“It was clear that some adjustments to the KCEB proposed maps were needed based on community feedback,” she said.

The KCEB approved the “Alternative 9” subdistrict map without comment.

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