District judge grants TRO preventing TEA from installing BISD board of managers

A district judge has granted the Beaumont Independent School District a temporary restraining order that prevents the Texas Education Agency from installing a board of managers to run the district.

261st District Court Judge Lora Livingston announced her decision in a letter of ruling dated May 16, 2014.

"I have considered the pleadings, the evidence and the arguments of counsel, and hereby grant Plaintiffs' request for a temporary restraining order that enjoins the Commissioner from appointment of a board of managers and a new superintendent of BISD," said Judge Livingston in the letter

Education Commissioner Williams issued a statement regarding the issuance of a temporary restraining.

"Today's decision granting a temporary restraining order isn't a surprise, but it does add a legal step to the process. The next step will be a temporary injunction hearing. When all is said and done, I fully expect to replace the superintendent and the board of trustees. This action is necessary to restore Beaumont ISD to the strong state that students and taxpayers fully deserve and have every right to expect," said Williams.
Earlier this week, lawyers representing the district and two board members filed for an injunction to prevent the TEA from taking over the district.  The suit seeks a temporary restraining order, a temporary injunction and a permanent injunction against the takeover.

A hearing was held Wednesday afternoon before Judge Livingston in which she denied the district's request for a temporary restraining order. The judge gave the district until Thursday to produce any additional documents for the record review.  The Judge Wednesday did not rule on the TRO request preventing the instillation of a the Board of Managers, but asked for letter briefs on Wednesday.  Her decision was announced in the letter issued Friday.

According to documents filed by the district and board members Gwen Ambres and Janice Brassard, the district claims that TEA Commissioner Michael Williams violated the Texas Education Code, "...to achieve an improper purpose - the removal of the duly elected Board of Trustees.."

The legal battle leading up to Friday's decision by the judge to grant the TRO began last month when trustees voted in favor of seeing to appeal aspects of the TEA takeover of the district.

Trustees on April 17 voted 5-2 to appeal appointment of a conservator and a board of managers.  According to 12News file stories, Trustee Janice Brassard said the takeover is nothing but a political move and does no good for the students. Trustee Woodrow Reece said a takeover is outlandish and the death penalty.


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