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Motion to overturn bond validation lawsuit

Remember that bond validation lawsuit that HISD filed and won, practically by forfeit, in Travis County after the last election? Opponents of the bond have now filed a motion to overturn that ruling.

The motion contends that state District Judge John K. Dietz did not have jurisdiction in the case — a lawsuit the district filed in Austin shortly after the Nov. 6 election to stave off expected legal challenges that district officials feared could tie up the bond money.

While a hearing on whether to reconsider the issue could be held as early as next week, HISD attorney Pat Mizell said he is confident the district followed the law.

“The district plans to aggressively address these allegations, and we believe the judgment entered in Travis County is solid,” said Mizell, a partner with Vinson & Elkins. “The district needs to press forward to build schools as quickly as possible.”

Wednesday’s filing was the latest development in what appears destined to be a long and costly legal battle for both sides. Critics also vowed Wednesday to beef up a federal lawsuit filed Dec. 14 by three families who say the school district’s policies deny poor and minority children quality educations.

“Eventually, I think you will see this gravitate into a class-action lawsuit,” said state Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, one of the most vocal critics of the bond plan.

The motion filed Wednesday in state court is “just us challenging on all fronts,” he added. “What we’re doing is making sure all bases are covered.”

He and others contend that the bond plan — and more generally, HISD policies — shortchange African-American and other minority students. They say schools in those neighborhoods don’t offer the same quality of education as schools in other areas.

Mizell said he expects to file a response to the federal lawsuit, as well as a motion to dismiss all or part of it, this month. A scheduling conference is set for late February.

I really don’t know how to evaluate all these claims. We’ll see what happens.

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One Comment

  1. Marie says:

    It angers me that Sylvester Turner is portraying himself as some champion of poor and minority children when he is a sellout to Tom Craddick and the Republicans who starve our public schools while Turner walks votes when he’s told to.