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City close to finalizing new boundaries for city council, school board districts

Jacksonville has added more than 100,000 people in the last 10 years. The latest Census told us that and now the city has to change its boundaries for city council and school board districts.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville has added more than 100,000 people in the last 10 years. The latest Census told us that and now the city has to change its boundaries for city council and school board districts.

The process happens every 10 years and the city is close to setting the new boundaries.

When you look at the maps they may not say much on the surface but what they are showing is how the layout of Jacksonville’s population has changed. That’s why we could see a shift in who represents you on the city council. The possible changes have Julie Cocke, who lives in the Mandarin area, concerned.

“I don’t like all of this redistricting and changing everything all the time. It doesn’t sit well with me and I know what it’s for and I don’t like that,” Cocke said.

In a meeting Monday afternoon, a city council committee approved a plan to go forward with changes in city council and school board districts.

As parts of town grow at different rates, districts get redrawn, to balance it out and make the population of each district as similar as possible.

That’s led to some significant shifts, especially on the Southside around the St. Johns Town Center and UNF as well as in the Bartram area, and on parts of the Northside.

And as some areas grow more slowly the districts are broadened out to bring in more people.

Councilmember Brenda Priestly Jackson is on the committee which approved the preliminary maps on Monday. News4JAX asked her about the fear that some have that the boundaries would be drawn to benefit a particular race or political party.

“That was my guiding concern to make sure that all populations were represented and every district in Jacksonville,” she said. News4JAX asked her if lines were drawn to give more power to a particular candidate or party.

“To be honest I did not see that,” Priestly Jackson responded.

As a public observer, Phillip Miner has been watching these proceedings closely. He wants to review the maps even more.

“My clear hope is that the voting power of both of the parties currently will not be watered down or otherwise diminished with the new drawings,” Miner said.

And after three hearings with the public, and a final vote from city council, the maps could become reality sometime in the spring.

New proposed changes to Duval County school board districts. (Copyright 2021 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

About the Author:

Jim Piggott is the reporter to count on when it comes to city government and how it will affect the community.