published Friday, September 2nd, 2011

Hamilton County commissioners raise final questions on redistricting

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Hamilton County Commissioner Warren Mackey said Thursday he wants to amend a redistricting plan to move two schools from his district to Commissioner Joe Graham’s.

“There’s 12 schools in my district and then he had six,” Mackey said at the commission’s agenda session. “This would create a little bit more equity.”

Commissioners have been working for several months to draw new district lines based on 2010 census population figures and minority concentrations. A plan is due to the state by Jan. 1, 2012.

Mackey, who represents District 4, requested to have Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences and Battle Academy for Teaching and Learning moved to Graham’s District 6.

The move would not affect the population totals of the proposed districts, Mackey said.

“Largely, it has to do with being able to fight for resources for the schools,” he said.

Graham said he would have to talk to the District 6 school board member before he decides how to vote on the amendment at next week’s commission meeting.

Commissioners also asked County Attorney Rheubin Taylor whether the population deviation between the largest and smallest districts would be legally defensible.

Taylor said the state refused to offer an advisory opinion but told him the county had made efforts to provide equal representation.

“We won’t know anything for certain unless there is a legal challenge, but we think we’re on solid ground,” Taylor said.

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about Ansley Haman...

Ansley Haman covers Hamilton County government. A native of Spring City, Tenn., she grew up reading the Chattanooga Times and Chattanooga Free Press, which sparked her passion for journalism. Ansley's happy to be home after a decade of adventures in more than 20 countries and 40 states. She gathered stories while living, working and studying in Swansea, Wales, Cape Town, South Africa, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Ga., and Knoxville, Tenn. Along the way, she interned for ...

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