Richardson ISD Cans At-Large Elections in Response to Voting Rights Lawsuit

Following a wave of litigation alleging that the school board members do not fairly represent the demographics of constituents, Richardson ISD officials have announced that they will adopt a new voting system to allow for more representation of people of color.

According to the Texas Tribune, the district agreed to move away from its current at-large voting system to a hybrid system that allows for two at-large seats and five single member districts. At-large candidates are voted on by all of the voters in a district, whereas single member candidates can only be elected by the voters in their specific district.

The litigation began last year, when a lawsuit was filed by David Tyson, the only person of color to ever sit on the district’s school board. The suit pointed out that while 60 percent of the people living in the district were black and Hispanic, the school board was all-white and tended to live in all-white neighborhoods.

While school district officials denied the allegations in Tyson’s lawsuit, they agreed to move to the single district voting system in hopes it would help create a more equitable representation.

According to the Tribune:

“It’s the latest victory in a wave of litigation against school boards in the area where the influx of Hispanic families and the flight of white families have dramatically transformed the racial makeup of public school classrooms but haven’t led to increased representation on local school boards. Richardson was one of hundreds of Texas school districts — many of them in suburban areas with similarly changing constituencies — still governed by board members who are elected at-large.”

Read the full story on the Texas Tribune.

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