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Chargois disputes TEA report; mandates reporters submit question - 12 News KBMT and K-JAC. News, Weather and Sports for SE Texas

Chargois disputes TEA report; mandates reporters submit questions before answering them

Beaumont Superintendent Dr. Timothy Chargois is defending his administration against a scathing preliminary investigative report by the Texas Education Association that was highly critical of the district's oversight of financial matters. 

The TEA report said that Chargois had failed in his oversight of day-to-day operations that contributed to misuse of public funds.

At a press conference Friday afternoon, Chargois released the district's written response to the audit, insisting his staff was already in the process of changing procedures in response to an earlier audit by the Legislative Budget Board. Chargois says their changes were interrupted when federal agencies raided their offices in November. Since then, two of Chargois' staffers have already been indicted on money laundering and extortion charges based on allegations they stole $4 million from the district. 

But Chargois took the most offense from the report's finding that the district tried to keep staff members from cooperating with t-e-a investigators. 

"The district did not interfere with the TEA special accreditation investigation," he said. "We are not hiding anything." 

Friday's news conference was controversial before it even got started for a number of reasons. First, the district did not make their response to the TEA report available to the media before the press conference so reporters were forced to ask questions about a report they had never seen.

Second, Chargois mandated that reporters submit questions before the news conference even started. The district's web master selected which ones Chargois would answer.

The practice of submitting questions before a press conference is highly frowned upon in journalism because it allows the person answering questions to control what is asked and, ultimately, impede the free flow of information. 

Chargois did not answer all of the questions submitted and refused to answer why reporters had to submit their questions before the report was even made public and BISD police blocked reporters as Chargois walked away.
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