2 Denton ISD principals criminally charged for violating state election laws

Two Denton ISD administrators are facing criminal charges for allegedly conducting an electioneering scheme using their school emails.

Husband and wife Jesus and Lindsay Lujan are principals at different elementary schools in Denton.

Court documents say they emailed other staff in February, urging them to vote in the March Republican primary election for candidates who oppose Gov. Greg Abbott’s school voucher plan.

Attorney Ken Paxton sued Denton ISD over that. The two sides later reached a settlement.


Attorney General Ken Paxton sues Denton ISD, accuses 2 principals of violating election laws

The case involves two leaked emails purportedly sent on school accounts encouraging school staff to vote in the Republican primary. Those messages also point to a scorecard of candidates on public education funding.

The Lujans were still charged with unlawful use of an internal mail system for political advertising, which is a Class A misdemeanor. It carries a possible penalty of up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine.

The statewide union that supports educators said the charges are part of a "politically motivated legal attack."

"This latest escalation in the campaign against educators and school employees fulfilling their duty to promote civic engagement and using their voices to highlight the high stakes for public education in our elections threatens to have a profound chilling effect in communities across the state," Texas AFT said in a news release.  

Denton ISD is one of the many school districts in North Texas forced to make budget cuts after Texas lawmakers who were caught up in a political battle over Abbott's school voucher plan failed to approve additional funding for public education.


Denton ISD announces postponement of new school opening as it deals with budget cuts

Denton ISD, which is dealing with the budget cuts that are plaguing school districts across the state, said it is postponing plans to open a new elementary school.

While the district agreed that election laws should be followed, it also encouraged those who support public education to get out and vote.

A court hearing for Lindsay Lujan is scheduled for May. Her husband’s hearing is in June.