Coweta BoE approves reapportionment map

Coweta County’s significant population growth over the past decade and the results of the 2010 Census led to the need to re-draw the population boundaries of the five Coweta County Board of Education electoral districts. The proposed map was approved by the school board on Oct. 11 and will be forwarded to the U.S. Dept. of Justice for approval.

Five of the seven Coweta County Board of Education seats are determined by voters in those respective districts while the remaining two seats are elected at-large.

The need to re-draw the boundaries stems from the population shifts determined by the 2010 Census. The proposed map had been available for public viewing for the past month prior to the Oct. 11 vote.

The idea behind the reapportionment, said school system spokesperson Dean Jackson, is to bring the number of voters within the districts to approximately equal size, while also remaining within U.S. Dept. of Justice guidelines to avoid diluting the strength of minority voters, keeping districts as compact and contiguous as possible, and also respecting communities of interest within the districts.

The areas of Coweta experiencing the greatest population growth during the 2000-2010 period included Newnan and portions of east Coweta, thus necessitating that the districts in those geographical areas shrink somewhat in size to equalize the population. Those districts include Districts 1 and 4 and especially District 5.

“The five regional districts are the areas being changed to equalize population. This change will not affect school zones in any way, only which voters are able to vote for the particular regional school board seats,” Jackson said. ”As a county’s population grows, electoral districts tend to grow relatively out of proportion with one another over a period of time. Because of that, following the 10-year U.S. Census, local elected bodies, as well as state and federal legislatures, which are comprised of districts must reapportion political boundaries to equalize the number of voters within those districts.”

The re-drawn map is being forwarded to the U.S. Dept. of Justice for the required approval.

The school board in re-drawing the map received assistance from the Georgia Reapportionment Services Office.

In terms of Coweta County’s population change over the past decade, the 2010 Census listed the population at 127,317. That number represents an increase of 42.71 percent over the 89,215 residents counted in 2000.

Both Newnan and Senoia also racked up the numbers. Newnan went from a population of 16,242 in 2000 to 33,039 in 2010, a 103.42 percent increase. Similarly in Senoia, the city saw its population swell to 3,307 in 2010 from 1,738 in 2000, a 90.28 percent increase.

Each of Coweta’s municipalities saw population increases during the decade. Sharpsburg grew from 316 residents in 2000 to 341 in 2010 and Turin grew by more than 66 percent, going from a population of 165 to 274 during the 10-year period. And Palmetto, a portion of which is in Coweta, grew from 3,400 residents in 2000 to 4,488 in 2010, an increase of 32 percent.

In terms of demographics, Coweta saw a 203.6 percent increase in the Hispanic population, a 36.2 percent in blacks and a 34.3 percent increase in whites. Those figures translate into a county with a color breakdown of 72.7 percent white, 17.1 percent black, 6.7 percent Hispanic, 1.5 percent Asian and .2 percent American Indian or Alaska native.

Countywide, Coweta in 2010 had a 9 percent residential vacancy rating. The county in 2000 had 33,182 residential units compared to 50,171 units in 2010, a 51.2 percent increase. In Newnan there were 6,464 housing units in 2000 compared to 13,860 units in 2010, a 114.4 percent increase. And in Senoia, the 662 housing units in 2000 grew to 1,289 units in 2010, an increase of 94.7 percent.

While those housing numbers are impressive, the county’s greatest growth rate in that area came in Turin, where there was a 119.1 percent increase, from 68 units to 149 units, during the 10-year period.