A new electoral system was set into motion Feb. 4 when Richardson ISD trustees voted unanimously to approve a new majority single-member district voting map.

The move comes after a lawsuit filed by a former trustee alleging Voting Rights Act violations was settled last month. 

Under the new system, RISD voters will elect five trustees by district and two at large. Prior to the settlement, all board members were elected at large.

As part of the settlement, the district agreed that two of the five single-member districts would comprise a majority of voters who identified as a minority race in census surveys. Those areas have been identified as districts 3 and 4, which comprise most of the middle section of the school district.

Superintendent Jeannie Stone said the intent of the board is for the District 4 seat to be among the first up for election, according to an RISD press release.

Maintaining required population percentages within each district made it difficult for RISD to honor many of the map edits requested by residents at a Jan. 29 public hearing, board President Justin Bono said.

“There could not be more than a 10 percent variance between the most populated and least populated areas,” Bono said. “As a result, many desired tweaks to the map could not be accommodated. The final map ranges from 41,000-44,000 citizens between those five districts, which keeps us within the required parameters.”

Three seats, which have yet to be determined, will be up for election this year, pending approval by a federal judge to move RISD's scheduled May election to November. If approved, the board will adopt a transition plan that implements the system over the next three election cycles, concluding in May 2021.