Beaumont ISD rescinds redistricting map approved in February

It's back to square one for the Beaumont Independent School District Board of Trustees and its quest to figure out a solution to its redistricting maps. Friday's special meeting of the school board was anything but uneventful. Trustee Mike Neil demanded answers for why the district failed to submit its new redistricting map in time to be eligible for the May 11 election.

"Who didn't mark the calendar?" he asked BISD attorney Melody Chappell.

Most of the trustees decided that the board was ultimately at fault for missing the deadline. But Chappell took some of the responsibility.  

"I did not give them a reminder about the 90 days," Chappell told 12News.

Because the new map, approved on February 21, was not approved 90 days before the upcoming election, it can't be used according to Texas Education Code. With the exception of trustees Mike Neil and Tom Neild, the board voted to rescind the new map. That leaves the district with only one map they can use for the election, the one approved by the Department of Justice in 2001. But some say it's unconstitutional because that map has not been reapportioned to reflect the 2010 Census.

"It violates the 14th amendment... so we can't do anything right now. I think what we're going to have to do is just end up in court," Neil said.

Chappell says the board will discuss the possibility of postponing the May election altogether if a resolution cannot be met, but has a promise for candidates and voters.
"We're going to work to make sure that any election is as fair as possible," she said.

Meanwhile, Beaumont attorney and city councilman Mike Getz says he will continue to fight in court to require the district to adhere to the redistricting plan approved in February.



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