OPELOUSAS — The St. Landry Parish School Board voted 8-4 Thursday to adopt a resolution approving a parishwide election district reapportionment plan based on the 2010 census.
Although boundaries for School Board districts adopted Thursday are the same as those approved last month by the Parish Council, some board members said they are opposed to the changes created by the census.
Board member John Miller said the plan approved Thursday creates a widening of his district, which will stretch from Opelousas in central St. Landry, to an area northwest of Prairie Ronde, which borders Evangeline Parish.
Board member Kyle Boss questioned why a portion of his district will be redrawn to include an area he says is 14 miles away in the Grand Coteau area.
Boss said his election district includes the Cankton area and a portion near the Acadia Parish line.
Demographer Mike Hefner, hired by the School Board and the Parish Council to handle reapportionment, told board members that moving many voting precincts within St. Landry reflects population changes in the past 10 years.
Hefner said St. Landry’s population moved mainly southward and that, in some cases, boundaries were redrawn to ensure that minority districts would not be seriously affected.
The new district lines do not go into effect until 2014 because the parish held its most recent election in 2010, before the latest census numbers went into effect.
Hefner said the board should not be surprised by the results because many attended public meetings regarding proposed reapportionment.
Those voting to approve the resolution were: Anthony Standberry, Raymond Cassimere, Scott Richard, Ronald Carriere, Candace Gerace, Harry Fruge, Roger Young and Huey Wyble.
Voting against were: Miller, Boss, Quincy Richard and Josie Frank.
CASWELL TO HANDLE SUIT: In another matter, the School Board voted 10-2 to allow board attorney Gerard Caswell to begin gathering information to answer a civil suit filed against it in federal court last month by Marion Overton White.
White is seeking $9.8 million in legal fees for representing the original plaintiffs since 1965 in a desegregation suit filed against the school district.
U.S. District Judge Tucker Melancon granted the district unitary status in March, but the issue of paying White’s legal fees remains unresolved, Caswell said after a closed session on the issue.
Caswell said the district has until Aug. 30 to file motions opposing the amount White is requesting.