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Both sides claim victory in appeals court BISD election ruling that makes November vote unlikely
BEAUMONT - by Scott Lawrence
Both sides are claiming victory after an appeals court has ruled in the bitter BISD election debate, but the ruling makes it unlikely a November election can go forward.
The 9th Court of Appeals in Beaumont issued a ruling Thursday morning.
David Vann deCordova, Jr., an attorney representing three people who want to run for the school board, told KFDM News he was reading the ruling shortly after it came out at about 10 a.m. He believes the ruling will prevent BISD from holding a board election in November.
BISD attorney Melody Chappell tells KFDM News the district is pleased the ruling determined the district must follow a 5-2 election plan approved by voters, and she says the ruling prevents three people who "weren't elected from being installed on the board."
"We are happy," Chappell told KFDM News. "The 9th Court of Appeals denied placing Getz candidates into office but said BISD must to a 5-2 election plan now that Voting Rights Act preclearance is gone. Victory. We will decide whether the election goes forward after digesting this opinion."
She says it's not yet clear if a November election can go forward./ DeCordova says the ruling "essentially determined a November election is illegal."
The ruling denied a writ of mandamus sought by the challengers to allow them to run.
It also reversed Judge Donald Floyd's order and remanded the case back to him. He ordered that the election would go forward this November with a map that put one contested seat on the ballot, that of Janice Brassard.
Statement from David Vann deCordova:
"Once we have discussed the decision among ourselves, we may issue a further statement.
In the interim, however, we are both pleased and disappointed by decision because it means, for the time being, that the BISD Board will remain largely under the control of certain trustees who have made repeatedly clear by act and deed that their politics of race, cronyism and power will continue to dominate and take precedence over the best interests of BISD, its school children and BISD taxpayers and stakeholders. I note these trustees' recent unconstitutional sign ban, the threat of enhanced police action against BISD citizens, and putting these concerned citizens at the "back of bus" as it pertains to public comments.
Our clients would have brought about much needed change to the dysfunctional Board, representing all stakeholders regardless of view point or skin color. Moreover, unlike the present Board majority, they were dedicated to clearing out the corruption that exists within BISD, including at the administrative level. We simply will have to wait for a lawful election or the TEA to force the much needed change.
The 9th Court of Appeals did make clear that the election BISD is to conduct on November 5, 2013, and that Judge Floyd approved, is patently unlawful. Again, BISD has wasted enomeous sums of tax payer money in hopes of maintaining the harmful status quo, this time through an illegal November 5, 2013, election. We are pleased that the 9th Court of Appeals recognized the illegality, reversed Judge Floyd's decision and remanded the matter back to the trial court for further action consistent with the opinion."