Beaumont ISD School Board Saga Finally Ends With TEA Takeover

Beaumont ISD School Board Saga Finally Ends With TEA Takeover

DALLAS, Texas–Despite repeated roadblocks put up by the beleaguered and failed leadership at the Beaumont Independent School District (BISD), Texas EducationCommissioner Michael Williams finally announced his picks for the temporary state-appointed Board of Managers on July 14.

In a ruling made by Deputy Education Commissioner Michael Berry, the path was cleared for the Texas Education Agency (TEA) chief to replace the existing Board of Trustees by saying that they failed to address copious deficiencies that are imminently harmful to students, the Beaumont Enterprise reported.

“The commissioner should appoint a board of managers because this appointment is in the best interests of the district’s current and future students,” Berry stated.

Berry also said that Williams should “appoint a board of managers because the district has serious and persistent deficiencies in the area of financial management, compliance with legal requires and special education,” according to the Beaumont Enterprise.

Williams, in a TEA news release stated, “The people I am appointing to the board of managers understand the difficult task ahead, but are committed to getting the job done for their community.”

He noted he had full confidence that the replacement board of managers would strengthen the overall condition of the BISD, while ensuring a solid education for every student. The appointments to the seven-member board included six men and one woman.

As appointees, the board will remain in place for up to two years. According to the TEA, a school board election must be called within two years of this appointment. This new board will be sworn in at a specially called meeting on July 21.

Once sworn in, the Board of Managers will assume all powers from the current, troubled Board of Trustees as well as its superintendent, Timothy Chargois, whose departure has been filled with grandstanding and posturing including resigning after being fired by Williams and then rescinding the resignation.

Vern Butler, who was hand-picked by Williams, will serve as interim superintendent until the new board can find a suitable permanent hire. Previously,Butler performed this same function for El Paso ISD in a very similar transition following a high-stakes testing scandal that led to a TEA temporarytakeover.

The new BISD board includes A.B. Bernard, Lenny Caballero, Jack Carroll, Joe Domino, Vernice Monroe, Jimmy Simmons, and Robert Turner, all area business, community and education leaders, according to the Beaumont Enterprise. Among their goals will be to “address and correct identified deficiencies and to implement effective, structural and procedural improvementstrategies for long-term, positive change,” the TEA news release stated.

BISD Conservator Fred Shafer, who was appointed to that role by Williams in April, will retain that position and assist the board and Butler on a variety ofissues including strengthening the overall weakened financial condition of the district it said in the TEA news release.

Ultimately, the utter failure to follow policy, including its own, resulted in the removal of school district leadership. Berry commented on this saying that the “fraud that occurred in Beaumont” was symptomatic of known control failures that either the district was unable or unwilling to correct.

Williams made the decision to remove the existing board in April. Also on the district’s list of woes were two former employees being indicted for a $4 million embezzlement scheme that shook the community and a district-wide special education program that denied many special education students access to programs and services. Coupled with leadership failures, it raised issues of viable governance as Breitbart Texas reported.

Follow Merrill Hope on Twitter @OutOfTheBoxMom.