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TV20 EXCLUSIVE: Former Alachua County School Board candidate files a lawsuit against Diyonne McGraw

Updated: Jun. 10, 2021 at 12:40 AM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -The controversy surrounding District 2 Alachua County School Board Member Diyonne McGraw appears to be heading to court. This lawsuit announcement comes nearly one week after we first told you about a petition calling for McGraw to resign. If the seat ends up, vacant Gov. Ron DeSantis would have the authority to appoint someone. TV20 was the first to receive the lawsuit filed against McGraw.

“The students are watching very carefully what’s happening to see if the adults follow their rules. Why should kids follow rules if the school board members don’t follow the rules,” said Jeff Childers, the attorney representing former District 2 Candidate Khanh-Lien Banko.

He said Banko only recently discovered that McGraw does not live in the district she was elected to represent.

Last week McGraw provided documents to TV20 that she believes prove she lives in District 2, based on the fact the school board hasn’t adjusted district boundaries since 2001. McGraw believes it needs to happen after every census year.

RELATED STORY: EXCLUSIVE: ACPS Board Member says she will stay in her position despite calls for her resignation

However, Childers said that is not necessarily true.

“The school board may redraw the maps when it needs to balance out the population in the county,” explained Childers. “It doesn’t have to do that. It is discretionary.”

According to the attorney, to change school district lines, school board leaders must notify and hear from the public.

“That left in place the 2001 district boundaries, which is the last time they made a change to it,” said Childers.

RELATED STORY: Alachua County School Board Members discuss the controversy surrounding Diyonne McGraw

He said he thinks there is confusion over the difference between precincts where people vote and districts where a candidate qualifies to represent people who live there.

“The county draws the voting precincts. The school board draws school board districts. They are not linked together,” explained Childers. “The county can change their voting precincts, but that doesn’t mean that the school board districts change unless the school board does something.”

A statement sent to TV20 by officials with the Alachua County Supervisor of Elections office reaffirms that McGraw’s listed address does not fall within the district she represents. The statement reads in part, “A change in voting precinct boundaries does not change Alachua County School Board districts or the boundaries for any government entity.”

TV20 NEWS EXCLUSIVE: WCJB was the first to obtain a copy of the lawsuit filed against District 2 Board Member Diyonne...

Posted by Dylan Lyons WCJB TV 20 News on Wednesday, June 9, 2021

TV20 reached out to Diyonne McGraw for comment, and she said she has none at this time.

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