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TEA investigating Northside ISD for possible voter coercion

Camille Phillips
Texas Public Radio

Gov. Greg Abbott has directed the Texas Education Agency to investigate whether or not Northside Independent School District directed staff to vote for the district’s latest bond.

Abbott announced the investigation in a tweet after a school choice advocate posted screenshots of an email he said came from a Northside principal. The email said all employees were expected to vote for the bond.

In a statement, Northside ISD officials confirmed a principal had directed staff to vote for the bond, but that the message was “never intended to be coercive.”

The district said the superintendent encourages employees to participate in elections, but does not stipulate how staff should vote. They said the message was a miscommunication that was “immediately addressed.”

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“Northside ISD is confident that the district and its leaders have adhered to all legal requirements and guidelines in facilitating and conducting school district elections, including our recent school bond election,” the statement said.

A TEA spokesperson confirmed the agency is investigating.

The school choice advocate, Corey DeAngelis, also shared emails from the Northside teachers union stating that the union had received multiple reports of campus leadership telling employees how to vote. Northside American Federation of Teachers said in a statement that it is its duty to help resolve issues members bring to their attention.

“Northside American Federation of Teachers supported the NISD bond and we are pleased it passed,” the union statement said. “We believe that educators in Texas have the right and responsibility to be voters in our state, local and federal elections, but it is solely their choice to vote and to decide who or what to vote for.”

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