• Swamp Watch

Chaos, Status-Quo Protection Drive EBR School Board Redistricting

Updated: Jun 23

After months of internal feuds and chaos, the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board Introduced a Status-Quo Protection Plan

The decennial redistricting process is underway in Louisiana, and last night, the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board introduced its initial redistricting proposal - after a process marred by internal feuds.

The process began back in August, when the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board hired Baton Rouge- based Strategic Demographics LLC to conduct the redistricting process in a 5-3 vote. Strategic Demographics had previously lead the board in its last redistricting process in 2014. Less than 3 months later, Strategic Demographics quit - citing the unwillingness of 3 board members to cooperate with the firm after it had been selected by a board vote. This marked the latest chapter of drama and chaos among board members this term.

With the firm originally hired quitting, board members went back to the drawing board in yet another contentious meeting. The 2 firms who were passed over in the original August vote both vied for the contract, with board members yet again feuding over which firm would receive the contract. Board members went so far as to attack the character and integrity of the owners of each firm, while the firms attacked each other as well.

Ultimately, the Board selected Geographic Planning & Demographic Services, a Lafayette-based firm led by former Lafayette School Board Member Mike Hefner.

The delays, and the map produced last night, are good news for all incumbents on the Board. Despite East Baton Rouge School System voters approving term-limits with 75% of the vote in 2012, every incumbent is eligible for at least one more term. With the process looking to come down to the last minute, and maps drawn to be favorable to each incumbent, this process, much like the chaos of the past 3 years on the Board, doesn't appear to be about what is in the best interest of taxpayers, families, and students. It serves one purpose - maintaining the status quo in East Baton Rouge's low-ranked schools.

Sign up here to receive future stories direct to your inbox. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for updates!