By LINDA CHION KENNEY
School board members last month voted to redraw the boundaries that determine how Hillsborough County voters select their board representatives.
Redistricting typically is done every 10 years, after the decennial census, and involves the process of drawing boundaries for political districts nationwide. The aim is to ensure equal representation in accounting for population shifts.
Hillsborough County School Superintendent Addison Davis has stressed repeatedly that this process of rebalancing districts does not affect school attendance zones and will not affect where a child attends school.
It does, however, affect who will appear on the ballot when voters determine local school board representation in three of the board’s five seats.
Two districts remain countywide, which means every voter in Hillsborough County is able to vote for who fills those District 6 and District 7 seats, now filled by Karen Perez and Lynn Gray, respectively.
Of particular interest to south Hillsborough County residents are the board seats that include local schools, which means they will be determined, at least in part, by south Hillsborough County voters.
The District 2 seat, now held by Stacy Hahn, includes six high schools, four of which are in south Hillsborough County. They are Sumner in Balm/Riverview, East Bay in Gibsonton, Lennard in Ruskin and Riverview High. The additional schools are Plant and Robinson in Tampa.
The District 5 seat, now held by Henry “Shake” Washington, includes Spoto High in Riverview. The additional schools are Brandon High; Armwood in Seffner; and Blake, King, Middleton and Tampa Bay Technical Manget in Tampa.
The District 4 seat, now held by Melissa Snively, includes Newsome High in Lithia. The additional schools are Bloomingdale in Valrico and Durant and Plant City in Plant City.
With redistricting, Hahn’s District 2 seat covers also 25 elementary schools, five middle schools and three K-8 schools, including the soon-to-be-named Waterset PK-8 school in Apollo Beach. It’s set to open in August.
Also included in District 2 are Ruskin Elementary School and elementary schools in Apollo Beach (Apollo Beach and Doby), Riverview (Collins, Riverview and Sessums, Summerfield Crossings, Summerfield and Symmes), Gibsonton (Corr and Gibsonton) and Ruskin (Thompson).
The only south Hillsborough County middle school in District 2 is Eisenhower in Gibsonton. Also in the mix are Coleman, Madison, Monroe and Wilson in Tampa.
Snively’s District 4 seat includes 32 elementary schools and nine middle schools, including Barrington and Randall in Lithia, Rodgers in Riverview and Shields in Ruskin.
Also included in District 4 are elementary schools in Lithia (Bevis, FishHawk Creek, Pinecrest and Stowers), Riverview (Boyette Springs and Dawson), Ruskin (Cypress Creek and Ruskin) and Wimauma (Reddick and Wimauma).
The school board approved the electoral boundary redistricting maps at its Dec.16 meeting, taking into account such things as population shifts and ethnic and racial breakdown. The criteria they were expected to follow included also “community integrity” (keeping neighborhoods together) and “maintaining minority demographic balance” (37.3 percent African American or greater, District 5 – 2020 Census data).
To view the proposed and approved maps, along with meeting transcripts and videos related to redistricting, visit www.HillsboroughSchools.org and search for “redistricting.”