Judge gives go-ahead for November 5th BISD election

Tuesday afternoon, State District Judge Donald Floyd issued an order giving the go-ahead for the Beaumont Independent School District to proceed with an election on November 5th.

Attorneys for three BISD candidates had requested an injunction halting the election, questioning it's legality.

Both the Jefferson County Attorney and the Secretary of State refused to allow the election unless there was a court order.  They argued that a school board election must be held in conjunction with an election for county or city elected officials.

Judge Floyd wrote in his ruling that since BISD was not able to get pre clearance from the U.S. Justice Department for its redistricting map, the district was forced to cancel the May 11th election.

He went on to say that a federal court in Washington, D.C. had found it appropriate for BISD to reschedule the election for November.

Floyd says the plaintiffs themselves contributed to the election not taking place in May, because of their court challenges.

Floyd also stated in his ruling, "Plaintiffs have known since at least April 29, 2013, when BISD adopted a resolution seeking the November election that such an election would be scheduled yet waited until after the open and close of the filing period and well into election preparations to seek the relief they request."

He wrote, "The court cannot conclude that BISD has abused its authority in rescheduling the election on the next available uniform date." 

Floyd also said that he lacks the authority to impose an election map on an elected body.  But he did take issue with the plaintiffs objecting to the map that the district has adopted takes into account Beaumont's prison population.

That map is 7i, and Judge Floyd says it was adopted well before 90 days before the election.

Judge Floyd says the vast majority of jurisdictions in Texas account for prisoners as BISD has done.

Floyd concluded that there's no evidence to support delaying the election any longer.  He stated, "The court finds that there is no legal impediment to Map 7i and that all election deadlines concerning same have been met up until now."

Mike Getz, an attorney for the plaintiffs, says they will appeal to the Ninth Court of Appeals.  Getz says there's a strong likelihood he'll request an injunction from that court to stop the election.

BISD board attorney Melody Chappell said, "The judge did the right thing."  She says the district has trustees whose terms have ended and they're still seated.  She says what else is there to do, but hold an election.

There are three seats up for election, but only one is contested, that is District 7, with incumbent Janice Brassard being challenged by Joey Hilliard.



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