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Lawsuit Says Grand Prairie ISD's At-Large System Violates Voting Rights

Bickel & Brewer Storefront is suing the Grand Prairie Independent School District claiming its at-large election system violates the Voting Rights Act and denies Latino voters fair representation.

The lawsuit contends the system is racially polarizing. The seven member board is comprised of all white men, while the student population is nearly 64 percent Latino and 14 percent white.

The lawsuit, filed Sunday, follows Gloria Carrillo's loss on Saturday to incumbent Terry Brooks. It points to Grand Prairie’s growing Hispanic community, which now accounts for 33 percent of the city’s total population.

Carrillo, who is vice president of the Grand Prairie Unity Coalition, raised concerns about the lack of Hispanics on the school board at a meeting in February. She said single-member districts would help change that.

Grand Prairie ISD spokesman Sam Buchmeyer said the district could not comment on pending litigation.

This is the latest lawsuit over voting rights filed by Bickel & Brewer. The firm won a suit against the city of Farmers Branch, which resulted in the creation of five single-member districts. In January, it filed a suit against Irving ISD claiming its recently-adopted 5-2 electoral plan violates the Voting Rights Act.

You can read the complete lawsuit here.

Stella M. Chávez is KERA’s immigration/demographics reporter/blogger. Her journalism roots run deep: She spent a decade and a half in newspapers – including seven years at The Dallas Morning News, where she covered education and won the Livingston Award for National Reporting, which is given annually to the best journalists across the country under age 35.