My name is Jason Ray, and I represent Nancy Kessling in the lawsuit styled Nancy Kessling v. Friendswood Independent School District and Patricia Hanks, Superintendent.
On May 7, 2010, the Texas Supreme Court rejected Friendswood ISD’s attempt to overturn a decision by the 14th Court of Appeals. The 14th Court of Appeals had unanimously ruled that Mrs. Kessling had properly stated claims, and provided evidence to support her claims, that Friendswood ISD had violated the Texas Public Information Act and the Texas Open Meetings Act. Those laws provide for transparency in the actions and recordkeeping of governmental bodies like the school district. Friendswood ISD had attempted to prevent Mrs. Kessling from presenting her case to the Galveston County District Court. The case can now proceed to trial.
I think there is significant evidence that Friendswood ISD is engaging in a blatant disregard of both the Open Meetings Act and the Public Information Act. Moreover, Friendswood ISD’s response to Nancy Kessling complaints has been curious. Rather than admit to obvious and straightforward errors in procedure, or engage in a dialogue about how they might be able to address her concerns, FISD reacted by denying that its actions were even questionable. FISD’s arrogant attitude has wasted taxpayer dollars and prevented the district from even considering a resolution that would have benefited itself as well as the parents and students it serves. What a waste.
From the very beginning, all that Friendswood ISD ever wanted to do was fight. That’s unfortunate because it’s cost Friendswood taxpayers a lot of money. There was no reason for Friendswood to take this case, literally, to the Supreme Court. Now that they’ve lost twice, I would hope that they might consider being more reasonable. In the past, the FISD would not even discuss the issues with Mrs. Kessling. That is unfortunate.
Riggs Aleshire & Ray, P.C.
700 Lavaca, Suite 920
Austin, Texas 78701