AMERICUS — U.S. District Judge Louis Sands on Friday issued a preliminary injunction halting Sumter County School Board elections until the school system’s nine districts are reapportioned to meet with constitutional standards.
Plaintiff William Bird asserted that the current district configuration “violates a number of federal and state constitutional provisions as well as federal statutes” and was seeking a declaration that the use of districts as they are currently configured in future elections is unconstitutional.
The issue arose out of the report of the 2010 Census which calculated population shifts in the preceding decade among the county’s nine Board of Education districts. The 2010 Census shows a total population of 32,819, which breaks down to an ideal split of 3,646 in each district.
A comparison of the 2010 Census data to the present population distribution in the nine districts shows varying swings in deviation — especially in Districts 1, 7 and 8.
District 7 shows a population of 4,297, which is a deviation of plus 17.86 percent over the ideal population number. District 1 shows 3,126 residents for a deviation of minus 13.27 percent under the ideal number; and District 8 shows 3,174, or minus 12.95 percent under the ideal number.
Elections for four districts (1, 2, 4 and 6) were scheduled to be held on July 31 but are now temporarily on hold.
An election was also scheduled for District 7 on Nov. 6, but it too is now on hold.