Judge dismisses suit against Lewisville ISD over alleged Voting Rights Act violations

The lawsuit against Lewisville ISD was dismissed July 31. (Anna Herod/Community Impact Newspaper)
The lawsuit against Lewisville ISD was dismissed July 31. (Anna Herod/Community Impact Newspaper)

The lawsuit against Lewisville ISD was dismissed July 31. (Anna Herod/Community Impact Newspaper)

Updated: This story was updated at 8:30 p.m. July 31 to include comment from plaintiff's attorney William A. Brewer III.

A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit against Lewisville ISD that had claimed that the way school trustees are elected prevents minority groups from winning a seat on the board.

The July 31 ruling by U.S. District Judge Sean D. Jordan granted the school district’s motion for summary judgment and dismissed all claims for lack of jurisdiction.

The plaintiff, longtime Lewisville resident Frank Vaughan, sued the district in February 2019 over its at-large voting system for trustees. The suit alleged that the district’s election system violates the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by denying Hispanic, African American and Asian voters a fair opportunity to elect a person of their choice.

The suit pointed out that while more than 58 percent of Lewisville ISD students in the 2017-18 school year were minorities, all of the school board members are white.

“The problem is that Vaughan, a white male voter, is not a member of any of these minority groups,” the judge wrote in his 15-page memorandum opinion and order.

And because Vaughan is not a member of any of these minority groups, he could not “have suffered the alleged race-based vote dilution” described in his claims, the judge wrote.

LISD board president Katherine Sells released a statement July 31. “We just received this information and have not yet had an opportunity to review the ruling, but we believed all along the facts were on our side,” she stated. “We are pleased the court agreed.”

William A. Brewer III is a partner at Brewer Storefront and counsel to Vaughan.

“We are disappointed that the court allows a stacked-deck voting scheme which enthrones an all-white school board in a diverse district to escape trial,” Brewer said in an email. “We salute our client for stepping forward to redress this injustice. Naturally, we will press forward to rid the community of the at-large voting scheme employed by the Lewisville ISD, which disenfranchises far too many. ... In our view, there is no question that our electoral systems work best when they are inclusive – and representative of the entire community.”

Brewer Storefront has been successful with similar claims over the years involving Carrollton-Farmers Branch, Irving and Grand Prairie ISDs as well as the cities of Irving and Farmers Branch.

Richardson ISD, which settled its legal claims brought by Brewer Storefront, is in the process of switching five of its seven school board seats from at-large representation to single-member districts. Two of the single-member districts were created to have a majority of eligible minority voters, according to officials.

A trial before U.S. District Judge Amos L. Mazzant was held in May over claims in a separate lawsuit related to Frisco ISD’s school board representation. A ruling in that case is pending.

See below for the judge's ruling in the Lewisville ISD case.

By Valerie Wigglesworth
Valerie has been a journalist for more than 30 years. She is currently managing editor for DFW Metro for Community Impact Newspaper.


Dozens of local residents gathered Feb. 27 at Lewisville City Hall to protest a military coup that occurred a few weeks earlier in Myanmar. (Aubrey Galloway/Community Impact Newspaper)
Photo gallery: Residents protest Myanmar military's actions on steps of Lewisville City Hall

Residents gathered on the steps of Lewisville City Hall to protest the arrest of civilian government leadership that occurred in early February in the Southeast Asian country of Myanmar.

Harvest Hall officially opened Feb. 6 in Grapevine as part of the Grapevine Main development. (Sandra Sadek/Community Impact Newspaper)
Harvest Hall now open in Grapevine, new dining options in Fort Worth and more DFW news from February

Here are some of the top stories from the past month from the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.

At its peak of power loss, the city had roughly 50,000 homes with interrupted power, many of which had prolonged outages, Plano City Manager Mark Israelson said. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
Plano faces long-term impacts from storm; Collin County vaccine hubs resume service and more DFW-area news

Read the top business and community news from this week from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Snow covers I-45 in Houston during a winter storm that hit Texas the night of Feb. 14. (Shawn Arrajj/Community Impact Newspaper)
Legislators probe energy officials over power failures, lack of preparation heading into winter storm

The Texas Legislature held hearings Feb. 25 with energy companies including Oncor Electric Delivery and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas in response to last week’s historic winter storm, which left millions of Texans without electricity for days.

High school graduation ceremonies throughout Lewisville ISD will be held at The Star in Frisco this year, a change from previous plans. (Lindsey Juarez Monsivais/Community Impact Newspaper)
Lewisville ISD cancels high school proms, selects new venue for graduation ceremonies

For the second year in a row, schools will alter key rites of passage for high school seniors throughout Lewisville ISD as they continue to navigate instruction during a pandemic.

The coffee and wine bar offers signature drinks, such as the Honey Bear Latte, made with honey and cinnamon, as well as food options, such as breakfast tacos, charcuterie boards, baked goods and snack boxes. (Courtesy Golden Boy Coffee Co.)
Golden Boy Coffee Co. opens in Plano; Black Rock Coffee Bar coming to Southlake and more DFW-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Tens of thousands of people have been vaccinated at Denton County's vaccine drive-thru clinics at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. (Courtesy Texas Motor Speedway)
Denton County agencies offer free rides to vaccine appointments at Texas Motor Speedway

Beginning Friday, two Denton County transit services will provide free bus rides to the mass vaccine clinics at Texas Motor Speedway.

As many as 31 stores across nine states will be shuttered as Fry's Electronics shuts down due to market changes and the pandemic. (Courtesy Qygen, Wikimedia Commons)
Fry's Electronics calls it quits after nearly 36 years in business

As many as 31 stores across nine states will be shuttered as Fry's Electronics shuts down due to market changes and the pandemic.

A lone runner jogs on a snow-covered road in Austin. Transportation projects across the city were briefly paused due to Winter Storm Uri. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
ERCOT: Texas power system was less than 5 minutes from collapse during winter storm

ERCOT's CEO offered details into what led to the massive blackouts that left millions of Texans in the cold last week.

Chipotle Mexican Grill opened a new Plano location Feb. 20 at the corner of Independence Parkway and Legacy Drive. (Courtesy Chipotle Mexican Grill)
Plano Chipotle opens with drive-thru; Tailgaters sports bar opens in Frisco and more DFW-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Lewisville ISD was set to resume classes Feb. 22 after closing schools the previous week because of winter weather. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Lewisville ISD resumes in-person, virtual instruction as district fixes storm damage

Lewisville ISD will press forward this week with in-person and remote instruction even as crews continue to repair damage from last week’s winter storms.

cars on snowy road
Texas Disaster Declaration opens door to federal aid for losses sustained during winter storms

Individuals and businesses who sustained losses during the winter storm are eligible for federal assistance, according to a Texas Disaster Declaration approved