Louisiana Senate Advances BESE Map Without Additional Majority-Minority District

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

The Council on Elementary and Secondary Education map, sponsored by Senate Speaker Page Cortez (R-Lafayette), passed the House Thursday by a vote of 26 to 11. There was no debate before the vote.

“Our version deals with populations and population displacement…,” Cortez told a Senate committee earlier this week. “It does not deal with the maintenance of these minority districts.

“I think this map is a good proposal put forward by the president, and I think it complies with redistricting laws,” said Sen. Franklin Foil, R-Baton Rouge, who worked with the Cortez on the map, to his colleagues before voting on it.

About 57% of Louisiana public school students are people of color, according to the Louisiana Department of Education website. Efforts to add a third minority district to the BESE boundaries were deferred in committee, nearly killing their chances of moving forward.

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

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