Nearly Two Years: Judge Louis Sands Needs to Issue New School District Maps

April 2019

Senior Judge Louis Sands of the U.S. District Court for the Middle
District of Georgia
(Photo: John Disney/ALM)

Staff Reports

It has been almost two years since the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Sumter County School Districts will be seven members. However, Judge Sands of the Federal Court in Albany has yet to approve the new district maps so that new elections can be held. Several current school board members are waiting for the new elections. The temporary board is operating as caretakers until the judge issues the new maps.

“Many of our community leaders are very uncomfortable with current board chairman Dr. Michael Busman making decisions in our majority Black school system,” says Dr. Marshall, Americus Sumter Observer publisher. “Busman and the White school board majority have repeatedly recruited superintendents that are racist and incompetent,” Marshall concludes.

The Sumter County NAACP president, Reverend Mathis Wright, says, “He is very concerned about the current school board members making decisions on our Sumter County new High School building. There are cuts in the budget for several $million that we need to examine. And many of the Southland School/Charter School supporters are involved in the new College Career Academy. And many of them favor charter schools over public schools.

An Americus Sumter Observer (ASO) staff member spoke with one of the Black school board members; and we were reassured that the new college career academy is designed to bring back vocational instructions. It will be similar to the technical school curriculum to help prepare students interested in auto mechanics, marketing, brick masonry, etc. Many school districts around the country are giving students the option to do vocational studies like in the past.

Several questions also were asked about the Charter School which resulted in the following answers: no expansion planned; the Ombudsman program will remain as is until 2020; and class sizes will be the same as

ASO and Sumter County citizens are appealing to Judge Louis Sands to quickly approve the new school board districts so that Sumter citizens can elect a legitimate school board that reflects the Sumter County population.

State Representative Mike Cheokas and State Senator Freddie Powell Sims are still scheming to keep the illegal school districts in Sumter County. They shamelessly went back to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to try again. Their appeal is based on the fact that former GA governor candidate Stacy Abrams won Sumter
County which proved that a Black could win in a countywide election. Cheokas and Sims are responsible for Sumter County having a White school board majority by introducing House Bill 862 in the GA Legislature which created two At-Large Districts. Historically, Blacks do not win At-Large districts.

Powell-Sims, a Black democrat senator from Albany, GA, has become the darling of the GA House Republicans. As a Democrat, she continues to show a readiness to be the only House democrat to assist Republicans to pass House Bills that adversely affect her voters and her Party or people of color. Cheokas is a Republican. Powell-Sims represents constituents in Sumter, Dougherty, Terrell, Randolph, Clay, Stewart, Quitman, Calhoun, Baker, Mitchell, and Webster counties. “We must find a candidate to run against such a Black traitor as Freddie Powell-Sims”, says Dr Marshall.

It took four years to get the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals to rule on a seven member school district. Rev Mathis Wright, Attorney Laughlin McDonald and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) brought us that victory almost two years ago. Now, action on that ruling awaits Judge Louis Sand’s decision on the new school district maps.