Looks like the last major hurdle for the HISD bond referendum has been cleared.
The Texas Attorney General’s office plans to give a preliminary green light Thursday to the Houston Independent School District’s $805 million bond — effectively ending a three-month long legal standoff that has held up school construction.
With no appeals pending in state court, Assistant Attorney General David Mattax issued a letter this week saying that the critics’ remaining federal lawsuit, which claims that some HISD’s policies discriminate against poor, minority children, isn’t enough to keep the state from signing off on the public securities.
“Rather, (the) policy-making role lies with the local elected officials who vote to place a bond election on the ballot, and the voters who choose whether to approve the bonds,” Mattax wrote.
HISD’s controversial bond, which passed by a 2,000-vote margin in November, is expected to build 24 new schools and renovate 134 others. The AG is expected to approve the bonds after a scheduling hearing set tomorrow on the federal lawsuit. Approval will be final no earlier than March 7, officials said.
So this means construction can begin. There is still that federal lawsuit, but I couldn’t tell you what effect that may have, or when it may have it. The bottom line is that the bonds can be issued without having to wait for further court rulings, which is not how things turned out in Waller County. As someone who voted for the HISD bond referendum, I’m glad to see this.
I’m also amused by this:
Attorney Ty Clevenger, who represented critics of both the Waller and Houston bonds, said he could have salvaged the case against HISD in Supreme Court. He said he’s dropping the case because he never got paid by the opponents, who were organized by State Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston.
“I took the Waller case pro bono, but that was never the agreement with HISD,” he said. “And I have not even been reimbursed for my expenses.”
I’m just gonna let that one slide by as it is.