BISD board prepares for November election

The Beaumont Independent School District board of trustees Wednesday afternoon will hold a special meeting to make plans for a November 5 board election.

Board trustees will vote to enter a contract to rent voting equipment for $25,000 and to hire an election administrator for $15,000, but some fear BISD is jumping the gun and will end up costing taxpayers more money.

Attorney Mike Getz said, "It seems to me to be premature to be entering into a contract with non-refundable terms six days before you have your court hearing."

Getz says the election the board is planning for November is illegal under Texas law, which requires school board elections to be held in conjunction with elections for city and county elected officials.  So Getz has asked a state district court to intervene, and a hearing has been scheduled for September 11 in Judge Donald Floyd's court.

Getz told 12News, "We are asking the court to order an election and the type of election that we're asking the court to order is the one that was previously ordered by the Ninth Court of Appeals."

That election had all seven seats up for grabs.  However, three incumbents, Woodrow Reece, Zenobia Bush and Terry Williams failed to file to be on the ballot.

But BISD attorney Melody Chappell says that no court that has looked into this has raised objections to a November election.

She said the district doesn't want to intentionally continue to hold over board members whose terms have expired.

Reece said, "It's kind of very confusing, we're just trying to do what we think is right because if we didn't hold an election, we'd have folks saying they're not even trying to have an election, they don't care."

Chappell believes only three seats should be on that November ballot, they're the spots currently held by Gwen Ambres, Tom Neild and Janice Brassard.  Only Brassard has a declared opponent, Joey Hilliard.

The board meeting to discuss the election is set for 4 p.m. Wednesday at the administration building.


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