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Beaumont ISD board adopts a 5-2 electoral map for May 2015 elect - 12 News KBMT and K-JAC. News, Weather and Sports for SE Texas

Beaumont ISD board adopts a 5-2 electoral map for May 2015 election

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BEAUMONT -

A battle that's been brewing for almost three years came to an end Thursday night at the Beaumont ISD board meeting.

In a 4-to-2 vote, trustees approved a 5-2 electoral map for the next BISD board election scheduled for May of 2015.

It was in May of 2011 that a majority of voters passed a change in the make-up of the board from seven single member district as it is now, to five single member electoral districts and two at-large ones.

That vote led to a series of court battles until a judge recently ordered the district to adopt a 5-2 map.

The deciding vote Thursday night came from board president Gwen Ambres.  When she said, "I vote yes", applause broke out.

But Ambres says despite voting for the 5-2 map, she still opposes it, but she says as board president she must follow the law, and the judge's order.

Ambres said, "I think that a 5-2 election scheme is unconstitutional, I believe that the 7-0 is the most equitable scheme."

As a back-up, just in case a federal court does strike down the 5-2 plan, the board also approved a 7-0 map.

In other board business, trustees heard a report on crime and disciplinary incidents on campuses.

The report showed fights had gone down, and so had the use of tobacco and cigarettes, but the number of citations for marijuana possession had increased over the past four years among students.

Board members also expressed concern about the limited use of the district's drug dog, which has just been used at West Brook High School.

The most heated discussion came when trustees and administrators were discussing the results of the Texas Academic Report, which showed BISD graduates struggling during their first year in college.

The report also showed a racial gap between the test performances of black and white students.

Trustee Mike Neil said, "We have failed the black kids in this city, and no one seems to be upset, the gap between the black and the white kids in the STAAR test is repulsive, does no one see this."

Ambres says instead of pointing accusatory fingers, the board needs to work together with the superintendent to improve those scores.

The board also accepted the resignation of Ozen High School Coach Keeath Magee after just one year as head of the football program.

12News first reported the coach was leaving last week.

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