District’s At-Large School Board Elections Violate Voting Rights Act, Court Rules – The School Law Blog

A federal appeals court has ruled that the at-large voting system for the school board covering Ferguson, Mo., where the police shooting of an African-American man sparked weeks of racial unrest in 2014, violates the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

The seven-member board of the Ferguson-Florissant school district, which serves all or part of 11 municipalities in suburban St. Louis, is elected at large. The district’s student population of 11,200 students is about 80 percent black and 20 percent white.

The school board was all white until 2014, the same year that Michael Brown was shot and killed in an altercation with a white police officer in Ferguson, sparking widespread street protests that focused on police and city policies. (A state grand jury declined to indict the officer who shot Brown…

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