Washington D.C. hearing could decide fate of BISD board elections

The question of whether there will be a May 11th board election for the Beaumont Independent School district is still not known, but we could have an answer as early as Tuesday.

Thursday night, board members decided not to withdraw proposed Redistricting Map 7B, even though the U.S. Department of Justice has raised questions about it.

The DOJ, along with some board members are concerned that it reduces minority representation by splitting precincts.  But they agree that they must come up with a map, so they are ready to address the Justice Department's concerns.

School board attorney Melody Chappell doesn't believe the map will be pre-cleared by the Justice Department in time for a May election, but attorneys for board candidates wanting a May election say a hearing in a Washington, D.C. federal court scheduled for next Tuesday could decide the pre-clearance question.

If the election is held in May, that would mean that three incumbents would lose their seats.

That's because they failed to file in accordance with the state election code.

Those candidates are Woodrow Reece, Zenobia Bush and Terry Williams.

In a related note, the controversy over the appointment of Matt Angle as BISD's demographer is over.

Angle withdrew from consideration.

As demographer, Angle would have worked on coming up with an acceptable redistricting map, but he was strongly criticized for being a Democratic political operative and picking sides in the debate over redistricting in Beaumont.

He withdrew to accept a bigger statewide job, so the board hired George Korvel instead.

Thursday's meeting was a kinder and gentler meeting compared to last month's meeting when two board members almost came to blows.

BISD superintendent, Dr. Timothy Chargois, this week, asked for a more civil tone at meetings.

And he seemed to have gotten his wish, much of the meeting was controversy-free.  With a lot of discussion centered on students and their achievements.

Board president Woodrow Reece said, "This is what board meetings should be about...education."


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