Lawsuit over Wake school board seats tossed
Posted March 18, 2014
Raleigh, N.C. — A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit over state lawmakers' decision to redraw the voting districts for the Wake County Board of Education.
The General Assembly last year approved a Republican-penned proposal that consolidated the school board's nine districts into seven, converting the last two seats into regional districts, one representing Raleigh and the center of the county and the other representing the outer ring of the county.
Republicans argued that the changes allow voters to select two school board members instead of just one. Democrats maintained that the redraw was a blatant political ploy to make the districts more favorable to Republican candidates.
Several Wake County residents sued, saying the redistricting was biased and illegal, but U.S. District Judge Terrence Boyle dismissed those claims on Monday. He said variations in the population represented by each district don't violation the Constitution's one-person, one-vote provision and that he couldn't rule on claims of political bias.
The bill also moves school board elections from municipal elections in odd-numbered years to the general election in November of even-numbered years, starting in 2016. Members elected in 2011 will serve an extra year till 2016, while members elected last fall will serve only three years before facing re-election.