AG Ken Paxton Sues ISDs That Encouraged Voting

Ken Paxton with an angry text bubble in front of a classroom
AG Claims ‘Electionioneering’ Lies Against Public Schools in North Texas

Topline & Key Facts:

  • Attorney General Ken Paxton is suing several North Texas School Districts
  • He is targeting anti-voucher districts, alleging illegal electioneering
  • Paxton is also suing Huffman ISD for similar allegations 
  • Supporting public education is as important as ever

Paxton is at it again

In the latest series of lawsuits from Texas Attorney General and Our Worst Texan of 2023, Ken Paxton is suing several school districts in North Texas including Aledo ISD, Castleberry ISD, Denton ISD, and Frisco ISD. Paxton is claiming that the school districts were illegally using official resources to promote certain political candidates who oppose school vouchers. These lawsuits developed ahead of the March 5th primaries in Texas, with Gov. Abbott and other Republican leaders spending billions of dollars to oust candidates – especially those from their own party – who voted against vouchers last session. 

At Denton ISD, Paxton accuses two principals of sending emails urging their employees to vote in the Republican primary for pro-public-education candidates. Paxton’s office cited the Texas Election Code’s ban against the use of “state or local funds, or other resources of the district to electioneer for or against any candidate, measure, or political party.” 

Paxton announced that he is also suing Huffman ISD, outside of Houston, also for electioneering allegations. During a school meeting at Hargrave High School, Huffman ISD superintendent Benny Soileau instructed faculty to vote for 16 specific politicians who supported certain policies, the release says. When school staff asked for a list of the endorsed politicians, Soileau said that a Huffman ISD administrator would provide it. 

Extremist Agendas Hurting Public Education

This isn’t the first time that Paxton’s antics involved suing others for his own extremist vendettas. He is also suing to take away Texans’ healthcare while denying access to gender-affirming care for families with transgender children. Time and time again Paxton has shown us that he is unfit for office. And worse, the Republican Party will continue to sweep his antics under the rug to appease the party and its big-money donors. Look no further than these baseless lawsuits or how after he was acquitted during his impeachment trial in 2023, he got away with bribery and abuse of office, for now (FBI investigation will not be prosecuted under the Pink Dome.

Enough is Enough, school officials and other stakeholders say. Their rebukes in response to Paxton’s lawsuit: 

Aledo ISD 

“To suggest that our public school budget is not impacted by this Primary Election - the Primary Election through which those who make decisions for funding for public schools will be elected - certainly seems less than transparent to us.”

Texas AFT

“Paxton of course knows a thing or two about using taxpayer dollars. The lawsuit raises questions about the intersection of education and politics. While somewhat unusual in its specificity of mentioning the Republican Primary, Denton ISD’s message to employees aligns with the district’s push for adequate funding. Denton ISD’s situation highlights the struggles of many Texas school districts as elected officials continue to fail the Texas education system. The outcome of this lawsuit will shape decisions affecting students, teachers, and communities, and we will keep a sharp eye on the situation.”

What’s Next:

For the past few legislative sessions, Republicans have failed our public schools by refusing to raise teacher salaries, voting against any legislative efforts to give more funding for K-12 public schools, and are focused on book bans.

Texas educators must not let fear prevail, they must use their voices to support candidates who will fight to progress public education in Texas. Voters must reject attempts to turn the clock back on public education funding and support. Texas is currently $4,000 behind the national average, ranking the state in the bottom 10 in per-pupil spending.The basic allotment for our spending has not increased since 2019 and with inflation increasing by double digits, this means that our education dollars do not go as far as they used to. 

With the November general election just months away, it is important that we elect public officials who listen to their constituents regarding public education. Texas educators must exercise their right to vote and not let Republican fear mongering tactics block the progress needed for education. We need more educators to make their voices heard at the ballot box to elect officials that will make public education a top legislative priority. 


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