The top local stories this evening from KERA News:
A former school board member is suing the Richardson school district, and the school board, claiming they violated the state open meetings law.
David Tyson Jr. served on the Richardson school board from 2004 to 2010. In the lawsuit, he alleges board members had discussions about votes on agenda items that did not take place during public meetings.
The suit, filed by Brewer Storefront, says the school board voted unanimously on more than 500 votes during the past seven years.
Attorney Bill Brewer said board members had what’s known as “walking quorums” or “walking meetings” to avoid the requirements of the law, called the Texas Open Meetings Act. School board meetings require a majority of trustees in attendance in order to conduct official district business.
The lawsuit alleges that some board members, but not enough for a quorum, would gather privately or correspond by text messages, emails or voicemail messages to reach a consensus on upcoming votes.
“The discussion and the debate that is obviously necessary on items of importance are all done in secrecy,” said attorney Bill Brewer, “outside the opportunity for people who live in the district and whose children are attending the schools to actually see why and how a decision is being made.”
A spokesman for Richardson ISD says the district is aware of the lawsuit but can't comment until it's been served. This is the second lawsuit Brewer Storefront has filed against Richardson ISD on behalf of Tyson, the former school board member.
The previous suit, which is ongoing, alleges the district’s at-large system for electing school board members violates the Voting Rights Act because it denies fair representation of African-Americans and others who aren't white.
Other stories this evening:
- The Trinity Overlook Park along Beckley Avenue in West Dallas is launching a series of family friendly events this month. Folks with the Trinity Park Conservancy are hoping the events introduce people to this area, which will will eventually be called Harold Simmons Park.
- Mexico and the United States share much more than a border. The two countries are intertwined socially, economically — and culturally. Today on Think, guest host Courtney Collins spoke about the state of this relationship with Andrew Selee, president of the Migration Policy Institute.
- When tornadoes ripped through North Texas the day after Christmas in 2015, people lost jobs, treasures, homes — even loved ones. First, the storm damaged Lindsay's Diaz's house in Rowlett. Then, a demolition company tore it down by mistake. As KERA's Courtney Collins reports as part of the series "One Crisis Away: Still On The Edge," it took a long time for those financial scars to heal.
You can listen to North Texas stories weekdays at 8:22 a.m. and 6:20 p.m. on KERA 90.1 FM.