Federal Trial Over Frisco ISD School Board Voting System Begins Tuesday

Some witnesses may testify over video due to COVID-19 precautions

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The federal trial over Frisco ISD’s at-large trustee election system begins Tuesday at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas courthouse in Sherman.

Masks will be allowed in the courtroom and some witnesses may testify over video, as a precaution during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A Frisco parent filed suit last year, alleging the district’s system for electing its seven-member school board discriminates against the non-white population.

Plaintiff Suresh Kumar, an Indian-American parent with two kids in Frisco schools, alleges the district’s election system makes it tough for school board candidates of color to win seats. The suit brings up eight past minority candidates who have lost in at-large school board elections.

Kumar’s lawyers write that Kumar lives in the eastern part of the school district’s boundaries and argue in favor of a system that ties board seats to a geographic area, or a cumulative voting system which allows voters to cast as many votes as there are open seats.

As part of a response filed last month, the district’s lawyers wrote that, “FISD’s current system is set to meet the needs of all students on all campuses regardless of race, socioeconomic status and location.”

The district also pointed out that after last May’s election, one current school board member is Asian.

Frisco ISD’S students are diverse. As of April 2019, the majority of the student body are either Asian, Hispanic, African-American or multi-racial.

Forty-one percent of the total student body is white, according to the district.

Kumar’s lawyers, Brewer Storefront -- the community-service affiliate of Brewer, Attorneys & Counselors -- have sued other North Texas districts over at-large voting. Last year, Richardson ISD settled a lawsuit and is moving toward single-member districts.

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