In A Flash

Louisiana Senate advances BESE map without additional majority-minority district

By: - February 10, 2022 5:42 pm
Louisiana silhouette over classroom

The Louisiana House of Representatives approved a redistricting map for the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education that maintains the current number of minority districts at two.

The Louisiana Senate has approved revised state school board districts with two out of eight elected seats favoring minority voters. Black lawmakers and voting rights advocates wanted an additional district to account for changes in the state’s population, which is now 33% Black and 40% minority. 

The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education map, sponsored by Senate President Page Cortez (R-Lafayette), passed in the chamber Thursday by a 26-11 vote. There was no debate before the vote.

“Our version deals with populations and the population shifts…” Cortez said in a Senate committee earlier this week. “It doesn’t deal with respect to maintaining those minority districts.”

“I believe this map is a good proposal that the president’s put forward, and I believe it follows the laws of redistricting,” Sen. Franklin Foil, R-Baton Rouge, who worked with the Cortez on the map, told his colleagues before the vote.

About ​​57% of Louisiana public school students are people of color, according to the Louisiana Department of Education’s website. Efforts to add third minority district to BESE boundaries have been deferred in committee, all but killing their chances to advance. 

Cortez’s BESE map advances to the House of Representatives for approval, heading first to a committee that has also shunned efforts to add a third minority district. 

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JC Canicosa
JC Canicosa

JC Canicosa is a former Louisiana Illuminator reporter. Prior to working with the Illuminator, Canicosa worked for Investigate-TV and The Loyola Maroon. Canicosa earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Loyola University New Orleans. At Loyola, he was the senior staff writer at The Maroon and the president of the school's chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Off the clock, Canicosa enjoys playing basketball, watching movies and dabbling in comedy writing.