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Texas Education Commissioner is confident BISD won't be able to prevent state takeover

Wednesday afternoon, the Texas Education Agency received a formal request from Beaumont Independent School District asking for a review of Texas Education Commissioner's decision to take over the school district.

In the appeal, the district challenges every finding made by Commissioner Michael Williams and his team of investigators.

The district also questions the commissioner's legal authority to conduct a takeover.

But Williams says state law gives him the authority to disband the elected board of trustees and replace it with a board of managers.

Williams was in Houston Wednesday addressing an area Chamber of Commerce.

While in Houston, he invited Beaumont reporters to conduct one-on-one interviews with him.

During the interview with 12News, Commissioner Williams told us, "The elected leadership had totally and wholly lost the confidence and trust of the people of Beaumont.  They truly failed to implement the safeguards and procedures and systems that they had been directed to do so that would have protected the taxpayers."

Williams calls a last ditch effort by BISD superintendent Dr. Timothy Chargois and board president Gwen Ambres to visit him in Austin with a plan to prevent a state takeover, too little, too late.

He said, "It did not seem to me in my estimation that there was anything big enough that they could do fast enough to regain the confidence of the Beaumont community, regain the trust."

Williams believes the district's appeal of his takeover decision doesn't stand a chance.

He said, "In our experience those appeals end up affirming the decision of the commissioner that's likely what will happen here."

Williams says a state takeover is necessary to restore the district's financial stability, and the public's trust, he says BISD has yet to do it right.

He said, "It's also unfortunate that as recent as right now the district has failed to file its annual financial report, which was due as far back as January."

There are still two pending TEA investigations into BISD, they deal with cheating allegations and attendance issues.

Williams says once he installs a seven-member board of managers in late May, before the end of the school year, he'll most likely as the board to complete those investigations.

He says the board will serve a complete two-year term, which is the maximum it can be in place.  He says sometime after the end of that term in June 2016, a school board election will be held.

Williams also pointed out that the takeover has nothing to do with race issues.  He says it's all about financial dysfunction.
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