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Richardson ISD Agrees To Change How Trustees Are Elected


The Richardson Independent School District plans to change how school board members are elected.

The new electoral system is part of a settlement agreement reached between the district and former board trustee David Tyson, Jr. Tyson sued the district last year saying the current electoral system violated the Voting Rights Act of 1965, by denying fair representation of African-Americans and other voters of color.

Under the agreement, voters will go from electing people to seven at-large districts to electing representatives in five single-member districts and two at-large districts. Two of the single-member districts will be comprised of a majority of eligible minority voters.


Additionally, the next school board election will be moved from May of this year to November. That will give the trustees time to adopt the new voting system.


Brewer Storefront, the law firm representing Tyson, released a statement from him.

"The newly drawn districts will hopefully result in a board that is a closer reflection of the diverse and inclusive communities," Tyson said in the statement. "At the end of the day, we now have a political system that better serves voters of color, communities, schools and all RISD students."

Richardson School Board President Justin Bono said the decision was timely and the process exhaustive.

"Our board members want more diversity at the decision table," Bono said. "We are all optimistic that can be achieved with a new electoral plan. Hopefully, this system will result in successful elections for minority candidates."

A public hearing on the plan and proposed new geographic boundaries for the single member districts is scheduled for Jan. 29. The board is expected to finalize those boundaries on Feb. 4.

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.