A group of parents and taxpayers in Prosper Independent School District are asking trustees to consider transitioning from an at-large election system to a single-member model for trustee districts.

“We believe this change will greatly enhance representation, ensuring that every area within our diverse district is fairly and adequately represented,” a group of local families wrote in an email to Prosper ISD trustees.

Given that Prosper ISD encompasses diverse areas like Prosper, McKinney, Frisco, Celina, and Aubrey, a single-member trustee district model will ensure that each community receives fair representation. Trustees living in and representing their assigned areas will offer localized voices to their constituents, ensuring more accurate and responsive governance.

Prosper ISD’s seven school board trustees are currently elected at large.

“There’s a real need for all of our areas to be properly represented,” district resident Doug Charles, who helped organize the redistricting request, told Texas Scorecard.

He said a growing number of families in the district live outside “Prosper proper” but are not represented on the current board.

He also said the at-large system discourages many people from seeking a seat on the board due to the cost of running a districtwide campaign.

Charles and others supporting the change believe more candidates will be willing to run in single-member districts where they are campaigning among their neighbors, and more voters will participate in school board elections because they’ll know their vote will matter.

“We do it in Congress, we do it in our state house,” said Charles. “If you live, work, and play where your constituents do, you’re going to be more responsive.”

Multiple Texas school districts have transitioned to single-member districts following Voting Rights Act litigation that required them to create majority-minority districts aimed at balancing racial representation.

Law firm Brewer Storefront claims “winning outcomes” in forcing redistricting plans in five North Texas school districts since 2014: Lewisville, Richardson, Carrollton-Farmers Branch, Irving, and Grand Prairie.

The firm’s recently launched Texas Voting Rights Initiative is threatening 11 more districts with litigation, if they fail to implement single-member “opportunity districts” where most eligible voters are black or Hispanic.

Charles said the Prosper ISD effort is not partisan or racial.

“We want to make sure students and parents are fairly represented across the district,” he said. “Today our trustees don’t get to hear diverse voices from different areas.”

He and others are asking the board to commit within 90 days to studying how the district could implement a single-member trustee district model.

Some possible options are using the district’s seven middle school attendance zones as a starting point, or creating four single-member districts aligned with attendance zones for the four current high schools while keeping three seats at-large.

Charles said the goal is to ensure trustees live in the districts they represent.

Twenty Prosper ISD residents signed the initial email sent to trustees, although Charles said more than twice that number privately told him they also support the plan.

If trustees fail to initiate a study of single-member districts as requested, the signers are committed to gathering petition signatures to bring the issue directly to Prosper ISD voters.

The email cited the section of the state’s education code that authorizes the board to change to single-member districts and allows local voters to petition for a public vote on the proposal.

A petition signed by at least 15 percent or 15,000 of the district’s registered voters requires the board to order a redistricting proposition to be placed on the ballot “at the first regular election of trustees held after the 120th day after the date the petition is submitted to the board.”

Charles said he hopes trustees will act on parents’ request without the need for a petition.

“We believe this change is in the best interest of the Prosper ISD community,” he said.

District residents may contact trustees about the redistricting proposal.

The next Prosper ISD board meeting is scheduled for Monday, May 20.

Erin Anderson

Erin Anderson is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard, reporting on state and local issues, events, and government actions that impact people in communities throughout Texas and the DFW Metroplex. A native Texan, Erin grew up in the Houston area and now lives in Collin County.