BEAUMONT - Attorney Michael Getz and colleague Hubert Oxford IV have filed a petition Thursday for a Writ of Mandamus with the 9th Court of Appeals, asking the court to order the Beaumont school district to hold what Getz calls a "legal and lawful election with seven seats up for consideration" for the school board, not the three positions the district contends are expiring. The elections are scheduled for May 11.
BISD patron Paul Jones has filed a separate lawsuit seeking to delay the May 11 election until November because the district didn't get Justice Department pre-clearance of the redistricting map.
Lawyer Melody Chappell represents BISD and contends the attorneys mis-reading the law and she says the district is on solid legal footing in its election plans. She's also asking a court to deny Jones' request to delay the election.
Watch KFDM News and stay with kfdm.com for updates.
Getz says he's asking for expedited consideration.
The Beaumont school board is expected to vote during a special meeting Friday on whether to rescind the seven single-member district map approved in February and put in place a 2001 map that outlines boundaries for the board seats. The Justice Department pre-cleared that map in 2001.
Getz contends that'll violate the law because it won't take into account population shifts resulting from the 2010 Census nor will it account for redistricting.
Trustees approved a new map but it was done February 21, about 80 days before the May elections. State guidelines require that it be done 90 days prior to the election.
BISD patron Paul Jones has filed a lawsuit seeking to delay the May 11 election until November because the district didn't get Justice Department pre-clearance of the redistricting map.
The school district attorney says three board members are facing election May 11: Gwen Ambres, Tom Neild and Janice Brassard.
Getz contends the Texas Education Code requires that all seven seats be put to a vote and he's threatening to sue the district. The board will discuss the possible lawsuit during its Friday special meeting.
According to a news release from the district, school attorney Melody Chappell informed superintendent Dr. Timothy Chargois that "further scrutiny of the Texas Election Code and the Texas Education Code have revealed that the February 21 board adoption of a final 7-0 map fell 10 days short of the time reuired. Chappell has advised that only a court order may delay the election. Items on the agenda include rescinding the February 21 board action which adopted a 7-0 redistricting map."