A Calallen resident's lawsuit challenging the school district's successful $43 million bond election last fall will be heard in court today.
In an amended petition filed with the 214th District Court, Calallen resident Karen Ford claims the Calallen Independent School District violated state law by not listing all precincts in a public notice about the November bond election that was published last year in the Nueces County Record Star.
Ford filed her original lawsuit herself in December, before hiring an attorney and amending the complaint about two weeks ago.
The notice in question was published Oct. 18 and lists information about two propositions, one of which would have allowed the school district to issue more than $43 million in bonds for various projects. The other proposition was to refinance $450,000 of existing debt the school district incurred in 2002. Both propositions passed with more than 65 percent voter support each.
The public notice also displayed eight precincts that were within the school district's boundaries, as well as the polling locations for residents within those areas to cast their votes.
In the lawsuit, filed by Ford's attorney Bruce Matzke, Ford claims "a precinct which is within the jurisdiction of the Calallen ISD was not listed in either the order or the notice published in the newspaper."
The omitted area was Precinct 110, which starts at Leopard Street and Violet Road and extends towards Turkey Creek and Woodland Creek drives, said Nueces County Clerk Diana Barrera. There were more than 1,400 registered voters in Precinct 110 at the time of the November election, she added.
"It definitely is in (Calallen ISD's) boundaries," she said.
The alleged error was discovered only after "many hours of research over a two-week period," according to the lawsuit.
Matzke also claims the county clerk published a sample ballot Nov. 6 that did not include the two propositions from Calallen ISD.
In the lawsuit, Matzke claims the sample ballot omission could have "lead to confusion" among voters and could have indicated to voters that Calallen's propositions were not on the ballot for the election.
This could have resulted in "a reduction of people going to vote" in the Nov. 6 election, according to the lawsuit.
However, Barrera said her office does not publish sample ballots, but private citizens and organizations usually gather the information themselves to create sample ballots of their own.
A hearing is scheduled to take place at 9 a.m. today at the Nueces County Courthouse Fifth Floor courtroom. Retired Nueces County Judge Joaquin Villarreal will preside over the hearing.