Education

A Voting Rights Battle in a School Board ‘Coup’

In truth, earlier than leaving workplace, Ms. Minich had superior a new voting map for the county that might find yourself doing precisely that.

“That was my parting shot, this little coup, before I went off the board,” she stated.

Ms. Minich stated that the map was not an effort to do away with a Black majority. The dimension of the board was too expensive for a rural county, she stated, and it could be simpler on voters if the variety of faculty board districts was the identical because the variety of county commissioners.



The plan included 5 districts and two “at large” seats, to be voted countywide, shrinking the board from 9 to seven seats. The countywide seats ought to have favored African-Americans, whose inhabitants in the world had risen to 52 p.c in the final census, stated Ms. Minich.

But Mr. King, who was just lately employed because the board’s first Black lawyer, warned that, in his view, Black voter turnout was far decrease than white turnout in the South due to the lengthy historical past of voter suppression. African-American candidates stood little likelihood to win countywide seats, he argued.

On Mr. King’s recommendation, the board discarded the voting map. The majority additionally started to steer a new path, changing the board’s white chairman, Dr. Michael Busman, with Edith Green, a retired educator who’s Black. They additionally fired the superintendent who had been employed by the earlier board. Many of the votes had been now cut up alongside racial strains.

The choices angered Ms. Minich, particularly the firing of the superintendent, who she believed was doing a good job. She requested what is perhaps executed now that she was not on the board.

“That’s why we formed ‘the group,’” she stated.

In early 2012, a group describing itself as Sumter County’s “concerned citizens” rallied 200 attendees, largely white, at a native elementary faculty. The mother and father aired grievances in regards to the board and made plans to maintain up strain.

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