This afternoon I was told of Attorney General Greg Abbott's opinion when contacted by Tawnell Hobbs of the Dallas Morning News and Dallas ISD Blog.
The opinion was not unexpected. The Texas Education Code is clear.
Attorney General Opinion No. GA-O712 now states:
"By its plain terms, subsection (e) permitted a board of trustees to adopt a resolution to change the length of the terms of its trustees, but only if the change was made no later than December 31, 2007."
All attempts to call this to the attention of the Board were rejected by Board members and Dallas ISD outside and in-house legal staff. We were told that only Dallas ISD has a special status because of certain special laws.
When I asked if legal staff had spoken with attorneys for the highest election office in the state - the Secretary of State's legal staff - the answer was, "No." Neither the Board nor the legal staff would agree to contact the Secretary of State's legal staff. Both refused to do so.
We were told Dallas ISD lawyers had contacted TEA and TEA staff agreed that Dallas ISD could change Trustee terms.
Yet, when presented with the information relating to the change of trustee terms, it was TEA Commissioner Robert Scott who did the right thing and requested the opinion of the Attorney General.
This was an agenda- - a ruthless political agenda, carried out by a wrongheaded board. I believe the vote to extend Trustee terms was 7 Yes and 2 No. I believe the vote to cancel elections was 8 Yes and 1 No.
Notice how certain Trustees will continue speaking the language of resistance and refusal to follow the law. Dallas ISD has often refused to follow the law or policy when it matterd most.
Democracy won today. Taxpayers won today. Parents won today. The people of Dallas won today.
There is only one honorable thing for the Board to do. Admit the mistake and correct it immediately.
The Board should call a Special Board Meeting for the sole purpose of restoring elections in the three districts that were to be held on May 9, 2009.
The earliest date will probably be November 2009 - unless a court orders an earlier date.
Great damage has been done to democracy in Dallas. Voting rights have been sacrificed on the altar of political power.
Let's see if the Dallas ISD Board will finally do the right thing and restore the elections without further debate or delay.