Texas AG asks court to expedite HISD takeover ruling; teachers union files federal suit

Texas Third Court of Appeals
The Texas Education Agency and the Houston ISD board of trustees are awaiting a ruling from the Third Court of Appeals in Austin over whether the agency can move forward with a takeover of the school board. (Courtesy Third Court of Appeals)

The Texas Education Agency and the Houston ISD board of trustees are awaiting a ruling from the Third Court of Appeals in Austin over whether the agency can move forward with a takeover of the school board. (Courtesy Third Court of Appeals)

In a brief filed on Feb. 28, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton urged the Third Court of Appeals to lift a temporary injunction that has prevented the Texas Education Agency from implementing its plans to replace the Houston ISD board of trustees.

The injunction was put in place in January by a Travis County court judge, granting a request by the HISD trustees who asked the court to delay the takeover until the case could be argued. A hearing date was set for June.

HISD did not oppose the request to expedite a ruling.

Meanwhile, the Houston Federation of Teachers filed a separate suit in federal court Feb. 25 to revive a claim that the takeover would unfairly harm minorities' voting rights. The case was previously attached to a separate federal suit filed by HISD trustees that was denied by a federal judge in December. In the ruling, the judge left open the possibility for the teachers' union to return with a separate claim.

Three educators—Jackie Anderson, Maxie Hollingsworth and Daniel Santos—remain part of the union's lawsuit and are asserting that their voting rights would be unfairly harmed by the state's action.


"The choice by TEA to remove from leadership the elected Board of Trustees of HISD is an election change that results in a denial or abridgement of the right to vote of individual plaintiffs and organizational plaintiff’s members on account of their race, color, or ethnicity, by having the effect of canceling out or minimizing their individual voting strength as minorities in Texas," the union suit reads.

TEA had not filed a response as of March 2.