On Thursday, Nov. 4, the Guilford County Board of Commissioners officially adopted a new district map that the commissioners and Guilford County Board of Education are expected to use for the next 10 years. 

The NC General Assembly must still approve the redistricting proposal from the county. However, since state legislators from both parties have been included in the process, the new map is expected to clear that bar easily.

This final proposed map must also be approved by the Guilford County school board, however, Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Skip Alston said at the Nov. 4 meeting that he had been in talks with school board members and that the current map addressed school board concerns as well.

In the end, the board voted 6 to 1 to approve the map that was drawn up by Alston with plenty of input from fellow county commissioners, members of the local delegation of state representatives, and school officials. 

The only no vote came from Guilford County Commissioner James Upchurch, who said twice at the meeting that the only reason he was voting no was because his constituents favored a different map than the one that was ultimately adopted.  Upchurch emphasized at the meeting he didn’t think the map being adopted that night was unfair or problematic in any way.  Commissioners Carolyn Coleman and  Kay Cashion were not present at the meeting.

The two Republicans on the Board of Commissioners – Justin Conrad and Alan Perdue – voted to approve the map even though they both had some reservations.

Conrad explained his thought process at the Nov. 4 meeting.

“I don’t particularly like these maps,” Conrad said. “I’ll say that publicly.”

But Conrad added that Alston had reached out to him and had made important adjustments based on concerns Conrad and others brought to the table.

One concern of Conrad and of some members of the public who spoke at a hearing on the redistricting at the Nov. 4 meeting was that a previous map under strong consideration put two current school board members in the same district.  That wasn’t true of the final map adopted.

When the county commissioners first began the process of drawing new maps, one guideline they gave themselves was not putting two commissioners in the same district.   The commissioners didn’t know at that time that the school board planned to use the same districts, but, once that became evident in late October, the map was reworked to keep current school board members from facing each other in future elections.

Alston said it was essentially “impossible” to make a map that pleased everyone, but he added that he was extremely happy that the county could get a final map that had a great deal of bipartisan support at all levels of government.