Fort Worth

May 6, 2014

Political action committee drops lawsuit against Arlington school district

It’s OK to Vote No was suing to stop a pro-bond-issue rally.

The political action committee It’s OK to Vote No, Arlington dropped its lawsuit Tuesday accusing the Arlington school district of violating the Texas Election Code.

The committee sued early Monday after its campaign coordinator, Faith Bussey, was notified that an Arlington booster club was planning a pro-bond pep rally on school property. The district’s $663.1 million bond package is on the ballot in Saturday’s election.

According to a Facebook event created by Tara Zang Gray last Wednesday, a free hot dog dinner and “AHS Colts Vote Yes” pep rally were to take place Tuesday night.

Arlington attorney Warren Norred, who represented It’s OK to Vote No, Arlington, said the “use of district resources, including property, for political purposes is illegal.”

But he dropped the lawsuit after a brief court appearance Tuesday, when an attorney for the district said no pep rally would take place. After a district judge declined the PAC’s request for a temporary restraining order Monday, school and committee attorneys had come back to court Tuesday for an evidentiary hearing.

Norred said that Tuesday was the first time the district publicly said the event would not happen, although the district’s attorney said otherwise.

“They’ve never said that they were proactively ensuring no political activity would occur: Today was the first time,” Norred said.

Frank Hill, an Arlington lawyer representing the district, said school officials made it clear within 24 hours of Gray’s Facebook post that no pep rally would take place.

The committee, “filed a lawsuit needlessly,” Frank Hill said. “ … This was just a needless waste of taxpayer money.”

Hill also said that Michael Hill, assistant superintendent of administration for Arlington schools, will monitor the Arlington High School athletic field after football practice Tuesday to make sure nothing happens.

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