Quantcast

BISD board meeting ends in midnight chaos - 12 News KBMT and K-JAC. News, Weather and Sports for SE Texas

BISD board meeting ends in midnight chaos

Posted: Updated:
BEAUMONT -

Beaumont Independent School District Board President Woodrow Reece started Thursday's board meeting calling for healing.

He told fellow trustees and the audience, "We cannot be hateful to each other, and the public can't just say anything to anybody."

But more than four hours later, Reece got into a confrontation with Beaumont City Councilman Mike Getz.

The conflict was sparked over a dispute about a third elected official, Jefferson County Voter Registrar Shane Howard.

Trustee Gwen Ambres questioned Howard's authority to get involved in discussions about the school district's planned November 5th election.

Howard, in a letter to the district, had questioned the legality of the district being able to hold an election under state law.

That question is currently being reviewed by a state district judge.

Howard was not present to respond, but after hearing about what Ambres was saying he showed up.

However, he was not allowed to speak, since the board had already passed the agenda item involving Howard.

That item was considering the cost of new voter registration cards for voters in BISD.

Board attorney Melody Chappell advised Reece deny the request to speak, and Howard could not even speak as part of the public comment section of the meeting, since he had not signed up before the meeting.

When Reece denied Howard a speaking opportunity, Getz yelled out at him, "What a coward, what a coward..."

Then Reece challenged Getz, saying, "Come up here, and say it, junior."

Tensions were already high, with many citizens upset that the public comment portion of the meeting was left to the end, at around 11:30 p.m.

Some saw this as a way for the board to discourage citizens to stick around.

Referring to Reece's call for healing, Getz responded, "I've also heard the word heal...h-e-a-l...used a lot tonight.  It's hard to heal if you act like a heel...h-e-e-l."

Before the chaos, the board approved having an auditor audit the five most costliest construction project from the $388 million bond passed in 2007.

There were a total of 54 projects under the bond.

The audit decision is in response to the Legislative Budget Board Report criticizing BISD's financial accountability.

BISD Superintendent Dr. Timothy Chargois says the board wanted to make sure the money was wisely spent.

Chargois says the audit will cost $175,000, money that will come from unspent funds from the bond.

Chargois also addressed reports of recent fights.  12News has learned about two major fights at Central Medical Magnet School this month.

One parent told us she feared it was gang violence.

Chargois said Thursday night, "Children in Beaumont are relatively safe."

And Reece said, "We're trying the best we can.  Young boys are going to be young boys, as I once was.  I had to fight before."

The board also voted 4 to 3 to declare the unopposed election of Gwen Ambres and Tom Neild.

 So the only contested race will be for District 7 on November 5th, if the judge allows an election.

That race is between incumbent Janice Brassard and challenger Joey Hilliard.

The board also discussed two major items in executive session.  The scuffle Communications director Jessie Haynes and Board Trustee Mike Neil got into on August 1st, and the forfeited money of BISD electrical contractor Calvin Walker.

No decision was made in either case.

Haynes is on paid leave.  District surveillance video caught the conflict between Haynes and Neil.

Both have filed charges against each other.

Haynes was apparently keeping a reporter out of a news conference and blocking the door, that's when Neil intervened, and the situation escalated.

Attorneys from a law firm hired to investigate met with the board.

Also board members discussed behind closed doors whether to pursue money Walker forfeited as part of a plea deal, in which he admitted not paying taxes on a check he received from BISD.

Initially the board voted not to pursue the money, but in recent weeks, Reece has reconsidered.

  • Submit a news tip

    Do you know of something that would be a good news story?  Enter your email address and select "Submit"  to send it to 12 News HD.  You can also call the news tip line at 409-838-1212

    * denotes required fields
    We're sorry, but only one entry is allowed per person.
    Thank you for your continued interest.

    Thank you for submitting your news idea to 12News HD!

Powered by WorldNow

Newsroom: (409) 838-1212
Front Desk: (409) 833-7512
News Fax: (409) 981-1564
News Email: 12News@kbmt12.com

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KBMT. All Rights Reserved.
Users of this site agree to the Terms of Service, Privacy Notice/Your California Privacy Rights, and Ad Choices.