News for North Texas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Texas AG’s office and Denton ISD resolve electioneering lawsuit

Denton ISD’s J.W. “Bill” Giese Professional Support Services Building.
DRC file photo
Denton ISD’s J.W. “Bill” Giese Professional Support Services Building.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office announced it has ordered a writ of injunction to resolve its lawsuit against Denton ISD.

“The use of government resources to circulate voting guidelines to other public employees directly violated Texas’s prohibition against the use of state or local funds or other resources of the district to electioneer for or against any candidate, measure, or political party,’” the attorney general’s office said in a news release sent out Monday night.

The lawsuit, which sought a civil injunction, was filed Feb. 22 after a whistleblower acted on a pair of emails from two Denton ISD principals who urged their employees to vote in the Republican primary election.

The emails, sent by Jesús and Lindsay Luján, urged staff members to vote for Republicans who support public education and criticized school vouchers. The Lujáns, who are married, are principals at Borman and Alexander elementary schools, respectively.

Last week, Republican Texas Senate District 30 candidate Jace Yarbrough joined the Chicago-based Liberty Justice Center in filing affidavits to the Denton County district attorney seeking to trigger a criminal investigation.

The agreed injunction in Paxton’s suit gives the school district relief, with the school district signaling its intention to follow state election laws.

On Tuesday, district officials reiterated the statement it has issued over the last two weeks.

“The matter has been resolved,” said Julie Zwahr, Denton ISD’s chief of communications. “We agree that election laws should be followed. In fact, our Board of School Trustees adopted board policies in 2018 and 2021 regarding elections and campaign ethics, and we train all trustees and administrators on these policies annually. It is our expectation that these policies be followed.”

Zwahr confirmed that campuses in Denton ISD have completed annual training regarding campaign ethics and board policies.

“Denton ISD conducts training for our Board of Trustees and administrators annually,” she said in an email. “Dates of the last several trainings include: March 2, 2022; March 1, 2023; February 27, 2024.”

The emails that caused Paxton’s office to file the original suit were sent prior to the Feb. 27 training.

Paxton’s office has filed lawsuits across the state for reported electioneering.

To date, Paxton has secured an injunction against Castleberry ISD and a restraining order against Frisco ISD. Additionally, the office has sued Aledo ISD, Huffman ISD, Hutto ISD and Denison ISD.