Senator Exposes Electoral Interference by Houston Area School District

State Senator Paul Bettencourt has taken a bold stand against attempts by Fort Bend ISD to interfere with elections, specifically in encouraging teachers to support a tax increase. His concerns underscore the importance of preserving electoral integrity and keeping school districts out of the electoral process.

Republican State Senator Paul Bettencourt (R – Houston) has publicly condemned the Fort Bend Independent School District for tactics aimed at influencing teachers to back a tax rate increase on the upcoming November ballot. The Senator firmly believes that these incentives not only potentially violate federal law but also raise ethical concerns about election interference, as schools should not be involved in influencing elections.

Senator Bettencourt expressed his concerns, emphasizing the importance of schools remaining neutral in political matters: “ISDs must be absolutely certain they are not skirting the law or exploiting its principles to entice students, families, or employees to participate in any election through material incentives.”

According to a Katy Christian Magazine report, the Fort Bend Independent School District rewarded its staff with “jeans passes” as an incentive for voting. The district was also enticing students with prizes to persuade their parents to vote. Children who returned to school with an “I voted” sticker were eligible to receive these rewards.

Following concerns raised by parents, local residents, and faculty members during early voting, the Fort Bend ISD administration decided to halt the practice of offering jeans passes for purchase. In the case of students, the district altered its approach by providing prizes without monetary value.

However, Senator Bettencourt remains unsatisfied and has announced his intention to seek a review of the matter by the office of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, thereby advancing the cause of electoral integrity and addressing concerns of election interference.

The window for early voting remains open until November 3, with the crucial Election Day scheduled for Tuesday, November 7. Senator Bettencourt’s efforts aim to ensure that electoral integrity is upheld and to address concerns of election interference by the school district throughout this process.