APS Redistricting Plea and Alarm

By APS Board Member Josefina Dominguez

El Diablo No Duerme! And neither should we…

School Board Redistricting is on the agenda for discussion. The vote for this item will happen the first week in December. The map we select will impact the 2023 School Board Elections and elections for 10 years.

WE NEED REDISTRICTING “EXPERTS” (people who were involved in the redistricting efforts at the city, county, and state level) to lend their expertise and knowledge. Remember that the school board, like the city, presents non-partisan races. However, we know that looking critically for any signs of partisanship coming into play in the construction of these maps is valuable. Your input will help the school board make the best decision possible. Please look at the proposed maps in item VII.A., (pages 130 of 169) of the 11/16/22 agenda. Share your observations and comments with the board and with the public, if you can. Find documents here: https://meetings.boardbook.org/Public/Agenda/1880?meeting=554929&thin=True

The APS Board of Education elections in 2021 resulted in a divided board. Although the Board voted to convene a citizens Redistricting Committee in the name of transparency and community involvement, the committee presented only two very similar maps—Concepts E2 and E3. These maps give great weight to the more affluent and growing parts of the city and the East Mountain (E2). How? In part, it has to do with the deviation numbers on the Voting Age Population documents. I am new to all this but experts can explain this. What I have gleaned from discussions is that the E2 & E3 configurations put pressure on APS to disproportionately direct capital dollars and resources to new development (schools) at the expense of our rural, urban, and most vulnerable students.

Thankfully, the board still has the legal right to mitigate the potential inequities of Concept Maps E2 and E3. Board Member Barbara Petersen requested Southwest Polling and Research to design at least 2 new maps—Concepts G and H— to do the following, as closely as possible:

Have 3 majority Hispanic population. (Justified by the Voter Aged Population VAP percentage of 45%, which requires 3 of 7 districts) District 4 is majority minority, but not majority Hispanic, as the city population should require. To properly reflect the total population and the distribution of the neighborhoods, there should be 3 majority Hispanic in addition to 1 majority minority district.

Maintain continuity of existing districts as much as possible, except for moving Corrales into District 3, the North Valley district, which was important to the citizens’ committee.

Reflect both potential growth of some districts and the census undercount in the districts that have extremely high mobility and homeless population (District 4). Both of those things are “felt”; however, where is the hard data to make one outweigh the other? The deviation in the numbers of the proposed Concept E maps give overwhelming weight to potential growth and greatly dilute the voice of the more underserved communities. The extremes in those numbers (note the deviation numbers on attached VAP analysis), while technically permissible, should give serious pause to the intention.

Open Questions:

* Where is the data to support the assumed additional growth solely on the west side?

* How does the total population vs. the voting age population impact the weight of the count? Which is more important for the redistricting?

Again, please lend your expertise and knowledge on the proposed maps in item VII.A of the School Board Agenda and send your observations/comments to board members. We want to encourage a nuanced and rich discussion on this matter. Thank you.