The Frisco school district’s at-large system for electing trustees discriminates against the rapidly growing Asian population in the area, according to a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday. The voting-rights lawsuit is the third in a year against a North Texas school district, all brought by the Brewer Storefront, the pro bono affiliate of the firm Brewer, Attorneys and Counselors, which has also filed voting-rights suits against several other districts and cities. Frisco demographics have changed rapidly over the past 15 years, as it has been one of the fastest-growing communities in the state. More than 70% of the district’s 13,284 students were white in the 2003-04 school year, according to state data. Now FISD has about 60,000 students, of which about 42% are white, 29% Asian and 13.5% Hispanic. (Some 11% are African-American.)
“So less than half of the children in public schools are white, but they’re not able to elect any candidates of color?” said William Brewer, a partner at the storefront. “The voting is clearly polarized in Frisco.”
Frisco is one of the few Texas school districts where students of Asian heritage make up a majority on some campuses. The others are Carrollton-Farmers Branch, Coppell, Plano, Fort Bend, Round Rock and Alief. The Asian population in Frisco has increased in recent years as an active word-of-mouth pipeline drew more and more families as workers from India came to work for the booming software and technology companies in the area. Then in 2008, a well-known Hindu priest blessed the land in the eastern part of the school district. Many Indian families bought homes in the area, and a Hindu temple was built.
The Brewer Storefront filed a lawsuit against the Lewisville school district in February alleging that all seven trustees there come from affluent, white neighborhoods, so students of color receive a “second-rate” education. That suit is pending. The Richardson district recently settled the voting-rights lawsuit filed against it last year. That district is moving toward five single-member districts; two board members will continue to be elected at large. In 2016, Brewer sued Coppell ISD over concerns that the Asian-American community there was being disenfranchised, but that suit was dismissed.
- Dallas Morning News, April 17, 2019