Local districts join suit against TEA commissioner

Seven school districts, including Fort Stockton and Pecos-Barstow-Toyah, have sued Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath over the revamped letter grade accountability system.

In a collaborative effort to uphold the integrity of the education system, Pecos-Barstow-Toyah Independent School District (PBTISD), along with several other dedicated school districts, has filed a joint lawsuit against the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and Commissioner Mike Morath, a news release said.

The lawsuit was initiated and filed by Kingsville ISD in Travis County, Texas. Other districts included in the lawsuit besides PBTISD are Fort Stockton ISD, Edinburg CISD, Del Valle ISD, Crowley ISD, and Canutillo ISD.

It’s anticipated that other districts will join the lawsuit in the near future.

The legal action addresses what the districts believe to be “unlawful adjustments to the A-F Accountability Rating system, a matter of paramount importance to the future of our students and communities.”

“Our commitment to providing quality education is unwavering,” PBTISD Superintendent Brent Jaco said. “The A-F Accountability Rating system is intended to be a fair and transparent measure of our schools’ performance. We believe that any adjustments made should be grounded in equity, and accuracy, and have been reported to districts in a timely manner. Our students and educators deserve nothing less.”

The proposed adjustments by Morath could potentially lower the accountability rating of districts across the state like PBTISD that have been making significant strides in student achievement. This lawsuit underscores their collective dedication to ensuring that the educational landscape remains just and equitable, fostering an environment where our students can thrive and reach their fullest potential.

“As we navigate this legal process, we remain steadfast in our mission to provide an outstanding education for every student within the PBTISD and beyond,” the release said. “By challenging these adjustments, we aim to prevent a scenario in which districts that are on an upward trajectory are inadvertently penalized by changes that do not accurately capture their achievements.”

The suit was filed in 419th state District Court in Travis County. Attorneys for the school districts could not be reached for comment.

Ector County ISD Chief Communications Officer Mike Adkins said the district is aware of the lawsuit and has spoken to other districts involved.