La Marque school district files lawsuit to prevent July 2016 closure

John Suayan Dec. 22, 2015, 2:16pm


A Texas school district set for closure after the current academic year has taken Texas Education Agency Commissioner Michael L. Williams to court.

In a complaint filed Dec. 15 in the Galveston County 10th District Court, the La Marque Independent School District asserts that Williams’ actions toward it violate the Texas Constitution, the Local Government Code and the Texas Education Code.

Hampered by poor academic ratings and financial woes, LMISD is scheduled to officially cease operations and be absorbed into the neighboring Texas City Independent School District on July 1, 2016. According to LMISD, Williams ordered its closure and annexation into TCISD “in an attempt to achieve an improper purpose.”

“This is not a suit to seeking to prevent the commissioner from exercising lawful discretion,” the lawsuit explains. “This is a suit seeking to stop imminent and irreparable harm occurring as a result of the commissioner’s unconstitutional retroactive application of regulations and actions in violation of the Texas Constitution, the Texas Education Code, and the authority granted to him by the legislature.”

LMISD further shows that it has suffered “an exodus of teachers and administrators” because of Williams, blaming him for former Superintendent Terri Watkins’ retirement. The district fears the actions over which it brought suit might not be reversible once it shuts down.

“The irreparable harm cannot be overstated,” the original petition says.

Galveston County District Court records indicate that the plaintiff sought and was denied a temporary restraining. Meanwhile, Williams filed a motion to transfer the case to Travis County on Dec. 17.

Attorney Christopher L. Tritico of the law firm Tritico Rainey, PLLC in Houston is representing LMISD.

Galveston County 10th District Court Case No. 15-CV-1314

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