Indicted Attorney General Ken Paxton Sues Denton ISD Over Alleged Electioneering

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has filed a lawsuit against Denton ISD, alleging two administrators violated the Texas Election Code. Paxton has accused Denton ISD administrators of using public resources to influence the Texas Republican primary election, insisting that purported electioneering by school officials is illegal, richly emphasizing his commitment to stopping the “misuse of taxpayer resources” for political influence.  

Paxton, of course, knows a thing or two about using taxpayer dollars. The Texas House impeached him last year after he attempted to use taxpayer money to settle a $3.3 million whistleblower lawsuit from several of his top staffers.   

In an email Paxton presented as evidence of misbehavior, school administrators urged their staff to vote in the Texas Republican primary, supporting candidates aligned with public education. Both administrators’ emails informed staff of allocated time for voting provided by the district during their workdays, emphasizing the significance of the primary in shaping decisions that will affect Denton ISD families. Labeling it a criminal offense, Paxton argues that schools can’t use publicly funded resources for political advertising.   

The lawsuit raises questions about the intersection of education and politics. While somewhat unusual in its specificity of mentioning the Republican primary, Denton ISD’s message to employees aligns with the district’s push for adequate funding. Neither email referenced specific candidates by name nor mandated employees to vote in a certain way.   

Like most districts, Denton ISD faces challenges as the Texas Legislature continues to hold school funding hostage for Gov. Abbott’s unpopular school voucher program.   

As the primary elections approach, Denton ISD’s situation highlights the struggles of many Texas school districts as elected officials continue to fail the Texas education system. The outcome of this lawsuit will shape decisions affecting students, teachers, and communities, and we will keep a sharp eye on the situation.