Potential candidates and voters for four Board of Education seats that will be up for election in a few months should check the BOE district maps. Monroe County Schools administrators presented the recommended new maps to the board and the public at a called meeting on Thursday, Jan. 6 and will vote on approving them on Tuesday, Jan. 11.

Seats up for election in 2022 and their incumbents are District 1 James P. Evans Jr., District 3 Greg Head, District 5 Nolen Howard and District 7 Eva Bilderback. Qualifying for candidates will be Monday-Friday, March 7-11 at the Monroe County Board of Elections office in the county annex. Board of Education positions are non-partisan. 

The qualifying fee is tentatively $27. The qualifying fee is a percentage of the pay board members receive. Board members are paid per meeting, and $27 reflects one regularly scheduled meeting per month. However, Assistant Superintendent Jackson Daniel said the amount may be adjusted to reflect actual pay last year, including several called meetings.

District lines have to be re-drawn this year to reflect population changes shown in the 2020 U.S. Census. Jackson said the census lists 27,260 people in Monroe County so the ideal number in each of the seven districts would be 3,894. The existing districts deviated from that number by more than 800 too many to more than 600 too few. In the new maps District 7 has exactly 3,894, while one district is 35 people over and another is 32 people under.

Jackson said the school system asked for assistance from Georgia Rep. Dale Washburn in re-drawing the maps. The maps were drawn by experts in Atlanta to reflect population with attention to number of voters in each district and demographics of the districts. District 1, including most of the city of Forsyth, is still the smallest district geographically, but District 7, which includes Bolingbroke, became smaller in land area because of its increased density of population.

Jackson said the mapmakers were given the addresses of current board members and drew the lines so as not to move them out of their districts. He said after board members approve new maps on Jan. 11, the maps will be put out for public comment before becoming final. 

Those looking at the map might notice one blank space in the center. It represents the Al Burruss Correctional Facility whose population is removed from the count for districting purposes because it is non-voting. Daniel said those studying the map will find a number of new roads not on the maps approved 10 years ago. 

School board members whose terms do not end in 2022 include District 2 (the largest district geographically) Dr. Priscilla Doster, District 4 Dr. Jeremy Goodwin and District 6 Stuart Pippin.