LEWISVILLE, Texas – Fair representation on a public school board is at stake as a local mother takes a North Texas school district to court.
According to the lawsuit filed in federal court, Paige Dixon of Lewisville argues that Lewisville ISD and its Board of Directors are in violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 because their current seating system, she believes, denies equal representation. of people of color. .
“This is the far south of Lewisville,” Dixon said, leaving his apartment where one of his children was studying practically inside while the other was attending high school at a nearby LISD school.
Dixon said his small neighborhood shows the biggest problem he feels is currently at stake in the school district. When she moved to the city in 2012, she said she immediately began volunteering at her son’s school and eventually became president of the PTA, when she quickly realized how massive LISD is and how far it extends beyond her little one. corner of the city.
The district covers about 127 square miles and includes parts of 13 different cities and towns. That great footprint brings with it a very diverse population of very varied economic and racial backgrounds. According to the district profile 2021-2022, only 38.8% of the student population is white, with 30.5% Hispanic and 15% Asian. The profile also describes 33.7% of the student population as economically disadvantaged.
However, as Dixon made his own candidacy to run for the LISD School Board last year – and eventually lost that career – he said he found that representation on the board, in his opinion, did not reflect those demographics. The current seven members of the school board are white and most, he said, live in more affluent areas of the district such as Flower Mound and Highland Village.
Dixon said he found that many of the problems students faced in their son’s schools and others like them were not represented at board meetings because there were none of those communities at the board table.
“We were seeing higher disciplinary fees for students of color, we were seeing less money being spent per student,” Dixon said.
Dixon’s lawyer, Bill Brewer. He said that he has seen this problem arise in several school districts in Texas that have grown very large and diverse, but where this is not reflected in membership in the school board due, he believes, to those general voting systems that allow anyone in any neighborhood. district to run for any of the council seats, as well as anyone voting for any district seat.
“This means that if a ballot box is involved, it appears at the polls,” Brewer of the Brewer Storefront law firm said, “that group can control the election of the seven seats.”
Brewer Storefront argued that success in lawsuits across North Texas in cities like Richardson, Carrollton and Irving. Several of those suits have caused districts to switch to a representative council where seats are allocated to represent specific parts of the community, are covered by candidates from those areas, and are voted on by people in those neighborhoods.
Brewer said he believes these demands will only continue to arise as the state continues to grow and more districts with such systems generally find gaps in representation.
A Lewisville ISD representative responded to the request for comment on the issue by saying, “It is not our practice to comment on pending litigation.”
However, previously, Brewer Storefront launched a similar lawsuit against Lewisville ISD in 2020 that the district ended up winning. In that case, the judge ruled that the plaintiff, who Brewer said was a white man, did not show that the current system of the district affected him negatively.
However, Dixon, a black woman from the district, could be a different story. She said her hope is to see students as her son and her neighborhood families adequately represented in district discussions.
“It’s a great district, it’s just not the same for everyone, so we want to spread some of that greatness to the rest of the people,” he said.
Mom sues Lewisville schools for representation on the board
Source link Mom sues Lewisville schools for representation on the board