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Carlyle neighborhood could change School Board districts

Alexandria’s current School Board districts (photo via City of Alexandria)

(Updated 12/2/21) The City of Alexandria is going through a mandatory review of voting districts in Alexandria and City Manager Mark Jinks is recommending that the Carlyle neighborhood — called the Alexandria Renew district — have its representation on the School Board changed from District A to B.

The issue comes out of a review of the 2020 census. While the City Council seats are at-large, the School Board seats are voted by district. District A encompasses Old Town, Carlyle, Del Ray, Arlandria and Potomac Yard. District C is the western fringe of the city, from the Landmark/Van Dorn corridor up to the Bailey’s Crossroads area. District B is more-or-less everything in between.

District A is the city’s most populous, with 56,160 residents, followed by District C with 53,800. District B has a significantly smaller population: around 49,507. With new residential development anticipated at Landmark and Potomac Yard, it’s a disparity that’s only likely to increase in coming years.

“An initial review of the 2020 census data indicates that City Council will need to adjust School Board Districts before the next election in 2023 to maintain compliance with voting laws,” a memo from Jinks said. “Based on this data, District A has a population larger than is acceptable to provide equitable access, and District B has too few voters represented.”

The memo indicated that the easiest way to balance the districts would be to move the Carlyle neighborhood to District B, taking its 3,819 residents and boosting the city up to 53,326 residents — roughly on par with the other two districts.

The city will have to balance the districts in one way or another before the next election, the memo said. There is also a pending lawsuit, the memo said, arguing that all elected seats must be re-contested in 2022 because the 2021 elections were not based on the most recent census data. The memo says that no ruling has been made in the lawsuit.

“This question will come to the City Council sometime in the new year,” Mayor Justin Wilson said in a newsletter. “Let me know your thoughts!”

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