Frisco ISD and its board of trustees have denied a federal lawsuit’s claims that the district’s at-large voting system prevents minority candidates from getting elected to the board, according to court documents.
The district filed its first response to the lawsuit May 8, days after the regular election in which a minority candidate was elected to the board. Gopal Ponangi won the Place 1 seat and will be sworn into office on June 10.
FISD’s response to the lawsuit repeatedly referenced Ponangi’s win May 4, making clear the board will no longer have only white members beginning in June.
The lawsuit, filed April 16, also alleges that most of FISD’s current board members live in the western half of the district. FISD points out in its response that four of the seven board members will live east of the Dallas North Tollway after two new board members are sworn in June 10.
The lawsuit names the district and the six sitting board members—including incumbent Chad Rudy, who won his election for Place 3 on May 4—as defendants in the case. New board members Ponangi and Natalie Hebert, who was elected to Place 2, are not named on the suit.
Plaintiff Suresh Kumar is asking that the district move to a single-member district system, which would have board members represent certain geographic areas versus the district as a whole. The lawsuit claims that change would allow for more minority representation on the board.