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Parents win appeal, lawsuit against Clint ISD continues

A lawsuit brought by parents against the Clint Independent School District has been given new life, thanks to an appeals court decision.

The 8th Court of Appeals opinion, written by Justice Ann Crawford McClure, sends the case back to the 205th District Court in El Paso.

The opinion says the education commissioner is not the one with the final word over these parents’ complaints, but the issue should be resolved in court.

The parents, through the Paso del Norte Civil Rights Project and co-counsel, Carlos Eduardo Cardenas, are continuing to seek a court-ordered corrective injunction.

They want the injuction to require the district to equalize funding for all students in the same grade level, regardless of the school they attend.

“For years, parents and students have complained about substantial differences in spending for academic and sports programs at the different schools in Clint ISD and the District’s self-reported numbers reflect this,” said Jed Untereker, Legal Director of Paso del Norte Civil Rights Project. “Education is critical to the economic, political, and social fabric of our society communities, and the parents in this lawsuit and all parents of students in Montana Vista and Horizon City deserve the right to show that they are being cheated. This case will be a milestone for the efforts to equalize intra-districting throughout all of Texas school districts”

CISD’s attorney, Juan Cruz, sent ABC-7 a statement regarding the appeals court decision.

“The Clint ISD respects the Eighth Court of Appeals Decision and will honor the Court’s request to have a trial court determine if the Plaintiffs’ claims have any legal merit, which the District contends that there is none,” Cruz said. “The District is prepared to defend itself and its financial practices in any Court of Law, as the District’s mission is to provide an effective and equal education to all students that attend Clint ISD schools.”

The parents say in their lawsuit that the CISD violated the Texas constitution by failing to provide equal rights, equal protection and access to equal education by treating students in certain middle and high schools differently.

District officials said the lawsuit was a “misdirected attack on the school district for the sole purpose of promoting parents’ political agenda” and said the parents should have exhausted administrative remedies first, including going to the education commissioner, before suing the school district.

The judge in the original case agreed with the school district and the parents appealed.

The appeals court sided with the parents Sept. 24 and sent the case back to the lower court.

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