UPDATE: The Grand Prairie school district has released a statement about the settlement. It said that the board "is confident the single-member district system will continue to produce" quality candidates and board members.
"The current Administration's emphasis on high-level achievement for all students will continue, resulting in outstanding educational programs and opportunities," the statement read. "The Board is hopeful the new system will encourage even more participation in the election process."
A public hearing on the new electoral system will be scheduled. The hearing will give voters an opportunity to comment on the changes and proposed boundary lines for the single-member districts.
ORIGINAL POST: A settlement has been reached in a voting rights lawsuit filed last year against the Grand Prairie Independent School District. Bickel & Brewer Storefront announced Friday that school board members will now be elected under a new electoral system – five single-member districts and two at-large districts. In two of those single members districts, a majority of the eligible voters are Latino U.S. citizens.
Bickel & Brewer Storefront filed the lawsuit in May 2013 on behalf of Grand Prairie resident Victor Rodriguez after incumbent Terry Brooks defeated Gloria Carrillo. The lawsuit contended that the electoral system was racially polarizing. Currently, all board members are elected at-large, and when the suit was filed, the seven-member board was made up entirely of white men.
“We are pleased that the school board agreed to adopt an electoral system that provides Latino voters in the district a meaningful opportunity to participate in the political process,” William A. Brewer III, a partner at Bickel & Brewer Storefront, said in a statement. “Beyond the benefits to this school district, we believe the actions taken here are instructive to other school boards across the state.”
Grand Prairie school district officials said they would release a statement on Monday.
The new electoral system will be in place in time for the next school board election in May 2015.