North Putnam board unveils new redistricting plan

Friday, November 30, 2012

BAINBRIDGE -- Facing a lawsuit, the North Putnam School Board was given a Nov. 30 deadline to produce a plan for corporation-wide voter redistricting.

That plan was presented and approved at a special board meeting on Thursday.

Beginning with the 2014 election, the North Putnam board will be composed of two at-large members and five district representatives.

These new districts will no longer be divided exclusively by townships, but instead will be combinations of existing election voting precincts.

The districts will be divided as follows:

* Russell precinct and Clinton precinct will combine and have one seat on the board.

* Franklin North will combine with Jackson and have one seat.

* Franklin South will combine with Monroe (East and West) and have one seat.

* Floyd South will combine with Floyd West and have one seat.

* Floyd East will have one seat.

The two other seats will be elected by at-large voters, however, they are "restricted."

The Restricted East member will reside in either Jackson or Floyd Township, but be voted on in the entire corporation.

The Restricted West member will reside in Monroe, Clinton, Russell or Franklin Township, but be voted on in the entire corporation.

In order roll out the new plan, all of the existing terms will now end on Dec. 31, 2014, with the exception of the current at-large seat.

The board could potentially have six new board members begin terms on Jan. 1, 2015.

The current at-large seat, held by Mark Hoke, will convert to the Restricted West seat and runs from Jan. 1, 2014 until Dec. 31, 2017.

Other seats that were elected to four-year terms this past election -- Russell, Monroe and Franklin -- have now been changed to two-year terms.

"Our board has worked very, very hard on a recommendation," North Putnam Superintendent Dan Noel said. "I think it's a good plan for everybody, and it really gets us equal representation for everybody."

In October, North Putnam was sued by the American Civil Liberties Union and a voter in Floyd Township for failing to provide equal representation and voting power to everyone in the corporation.

Noel said the new districts will have (according to 2010 census data) populations of 2,098, 2,095, 2,018, 2,170 and 1,841.

The smallest of these, Floyd East, is the fastest growing district in the corporation.

The new districts are also now within 3.2 percent of each other, considerably closer than the 31.2 percent margin in the previous system.

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