The East Baton Rouge Parish School Board’s controversial last-minute shift from an 11-member board to one with 9 members has scrambled the election map less than four weeks before qualifying for elections this fall and prompted an almost certain legal fight.
The new plan, adopted Thursday, hurts most directly two politicians: Jerry Arbour, who’s currently on the board; and W.T. Winfield, a former board member seeking to rejoin the body.
Arbour and Winfield were close allies when they served on the board and both were targeted for ouster during the 2010 School Board elections. Arbour won re-election that year by just 100 votes to his District 9 seat, while Winfield lost to LSU professor Craig Freeman. Arbour and Winfield both were heavily outspent by the Baton Rouge Area Chamber and a group underwritten by Baton Rouge businessman Lane Grigsby.