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Frisco ISD will negotiate potential settlement in AG’s school voucher electioneering lawsuit

Eight individuals sit behind computers on a horseshoe-shaped stage. On a projector above them is the Frisco Independent School District logo.
Toluwani Osibamowo
Members of the Frisco ISD Board of Trustees convene for a meeting March 7, 2024. Trustees discussed for two hours a lawsuit filed by the Texas Attorney General's Office alleging the district violated state electioneering laws on social media .

The Frisco Independent School District will negotiate a proposed settlement with Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office in a lawsuit over the district’s alleged electioneering on social media.

The district's board of trustees voted 6-0 to negotiate at an emergency meeting Thursday afternoon, which came in response to the state’s Feb. 28 petition alleging three Facebook posts from the Frisco ISD Government Affairs page encouraged the public to vote for candidates who oppose school vouchers, and to vote in a particular party primary.

The state argued the posts were electioneering in violation of Texas' education and election codes.

A Collin County judge granted a temporary restraining order against Frisco ISD officials last Thursday, prohibiting them from publishing messages that violate state law. The district’s general counsel Esther Kolni told reporters the state proposed an agreement to settle the case earlier this week, but said she couldn’t share the amount.

“I will tell you that the temporary restraining order that was put in place in this matter did give the attorney general some direction about what any sort of agreement might look like based on the court’s authority and what the court has suggested,” she said.

The trustees discussed next steps behind closed doors for two hours. The only public comment beforehand came from David Lethe, Precinct 119 chair for the Collin County Republican Party.

Lethe, who lives in Plano and said his wife teaches in Frisco ISD, questioned whether there would be any resignations from the board.

“Everybody has to complete training about the law as it pertains to electioneering and what (is) prohibited,” Lethe said.

The state's proposed restraining order lists the Facebook posts in their entirety as violating state law, but the judge's signed order picked out specific lines that may potentially constitute electioneering, which Kolni said will actually be determined in an evidentiary hearing.

The government affairs department’s Feb. 23 post pointed out redistricting in 2021 solidified which Texas Senate and House of Representatives seats will likely be held by Republicans or Democrats, making it more likely that winners in the primary election will likely be elected in the general election. The post has since been removed from Facebook.

Posts since March 7 no longer include lines about redistricting or the district’s claim that it lacks $90 million in funding due to no increases in its per-student allotment since 2019. A Facebook post from Feb. 21, which wasn’t included in the state’s original petition, still remains public:

“The state legislature determines how much money per student a school district can receive for operating expenses,” it reads. “They have not increased that per-student amount since 2019, and since then, we’ve experienced record inflation. Now, FISD is $90 million behind in buying power.

“Public education is always on the ballot. Your vote decides who has a say in school funding. Make sure you get out and vote in the primary election! Early voting is happening now and Election Day is March 5.”

Paxton’s office has filed similar electioneering lawsuits in the past weeks against Denton, Denison, Castleberry, Aledo, Huffman and Hutto ISDs. So far, Denton and Castleberry ISDs have reached agreed injunctions and resolved their lawsuits with the state.

“We don’t encourage anybody to think a particular way or to vote in a particular way or for a particular person,” Kolni said. “But we do believe it is bedrock to the principles of public education that people know about their rights and know that they can express their opinions without unreasonable government interference.”

A trial on a temporary injunction will be set for March 20 in Collin County if both parties can’t come to an agreement before then.

Got a tip? Email Toluwani Osibamowo at You can follow Toluwani on X @tosibamowo.

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Toluwani Osibamowo is a general assignments reporter for KERA. She previously worked as a news intern for Texas Tech Public Media and copy editor for Texas Tech University’s student newspaper, The Daily Toreador, before graduating with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. She is originally from Plano.