Two additional school districts face lawsuits for engaging in electioneering

A growing number of public-school districts are facing lawsuits for allegedly misusing taxpayer resources to influence staff members to vote against school choice candidates in the Republican primary election, regardless of their party affiliation.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit on Friday against the Huffman and Aledo independent school districts. The lawsuit claims that these districts have used state resources to unlawfully influence political races through electioneering.

Paxton filed lawsuits against Denton, Frisco, Denison, and Castleberry ISDs, accusing them of illegal electioneering by using taxpayer-funded resources. The lawsuits claim that these districts were promoting specific candidates and policies related to school choice during an election.

School choice remains a significant concern for Republican primary voters, with Governor Greg Abbott endorsing candidates who share his vision for supporting the school choice bill. Despite previous unsuccessful attempts during the regular and special legislative sessions, Abbott is determined to make progress on this crucial issue.

A school choice bill in the Senate faced repeated failures in the House. As an alternative, a House education funding bill was introduced, which incorporated a school choice amendment. Surprisingly, the amendment was opposed by twenty-one Republicans who voted against it. The amendment aimed to allocate funds for an Education Savings Account pilot program, primarily benefiting disadvantaged and minority students. It is worth noting that out of the 21 Republicans who opposed the amendment, five have retired, while the remaining sixteen are facing challenges from pro-school choice candidates endorsed by Abbott and other influential figures.

Public school officials are facing civil lawsuits after they intervened in the primary election to counter the increasing support for school choice, a movement that is gaining popularity among Republican voters across the state.

Read More:  Alabama apparently played a role in protecting Israel against an Iranian missile attack

Aledo ISD officials are facing similar allegations as the initial ISDs that were sued. They stand accused of using state resources to send emails instructing employees to vote against school choice candidates and policies. The officials claimed that the district would experience budget shortfalls and layoffs if they did not comply.

Dr. Benny Soileau, the Superintendent of Huffman ISD, took a more personal approach in encouraging faculty and staff to vote in the Republican primary. Instead of relying on emails and social media, he provided in-person instruction at Hargrave High School. In a bid to support the 16 incumbents, he referred to their challengers as the “Sweet 16,” as stated in the lawsuit.

According to the speaker, it is crucial for us to show our support for the 16 representatives in the upcoming election. If we fail to do so, there is a high likelihood that a universal voucher bill will be passed in the next session. This bill would have a significant impact on public education for an extended period of time. Once implemented, it becomes incredibly challenging to reverse its effects.

Contradicting the bill language, he mentioned that the funds utilized to support the ESA are sourced from the same pool of money as ours, as per The Center Square’s report.

Soileau emphasized the significance of participating in polls and standing behind the 16 individuals who have shown their support for us.

According to his statement, he mentioned that there are six challengers who possess an advantage in defeating the incumbents. He further explained that if these six challengers are successful in their endeavors, they will gain the upper hand and enter the next session with a strong sense of confidence in passing the voucher bill. This is particularly significant as there is a Republican majority that supports school choice.

Read More:  Kaley Cuoco Recounts How John Ritter's Advice Has Resonated with Her for 20 Years

To secure additional funding for schools, it is crucial for us to make a strong impression during this primary. As stated, “for us to get that new money, I think we have to have a good showing at this primary.”

In addition, he mentioned that a Huffman ISD administrator would be responsible for distributing the list of candidates that they needed to endorse.

According to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, these actions directly violate the Texas Election Code’s prohibition against using state or local funds or resources of the district for electioneering purposes. Paxton expressed his deep concern over this pattern of government officials engaging in illegal electioneering, particularly because these individuals are responsible for educating our children. It is of utmost importance that they respect and abide by our laws.

The Office of the Attorney General is part of the executive branch, not the judicial branch. As a result, the Texas Constitution prohibits the office from criminally prosecuting Election Code violations, as stated in the recent ruling by the state Court of Criminal Appeals in Texas v. Stephens. Nevertheless, the OAG is not barred by the Texas Constitution or state law from pursuing civil injunctive relief. This allows them to seek a court order preventing school districts from attempting to influence elections.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton criticized Denton ISD for engaging in electioneering, stating that it is improper for publicly funded entities like school districts to do so. He emphasized that state law prohibits government officials, including school district personnel, from using their positions of authority or taxpayer resources to influence election outcomes. Paxton further warned that he will utilize all legal remedies available to prevent school districts from coercing or influencing their employees to vote in a specific manner, especially when taxpayer resources and money are involved. He stressed the importance of safeguarding elections from any illegal interference.

Read More:  Nikki Glaser responds to Tom Brady expressing remorse over roast jokes and their impact on his children: 'I find it hard to believe he didn't think about the potential consequences'

The district court of Collin County has issued a temporary restraining order against Frisco ISD, while the District Court of Tarrant County has granted a similar order against Castleberry ISD. These orders prohibit the districts and their employees from utilizing any funds or resources to engage in electioneering that would violate the Texas Election Code.

Reference article

Leave a Comment