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El Paso ISD's board president attempts to prepare Beaumont for state takeover

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Beaumont Independent School District Beaumont Independent School District
BEAUMONT - Beaumont and El Paso are on opposite sides of the Lone Star State, but recently each city's school districts have had a lot in common.

Financial mismanagement, allegations of grade manipulation and lack of adequate oversight have plagued both districts, and soon Beaumont could be under state control just like El Paso.

In December 2012, Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams appointed a board of managers to replace El Paso's elected board of trustees.

The president of that board of managers, Dee Margo, visited Beaumont's Rotary Club Wednesday afternoon to give the community a preview of what they could expect if BISD is taken over by the state.

Williams has proposed it, but BISD is appealing his decision.  A hearing is scheduled for May 21st.

Margo described some of El Paso's problems that led to the arrest of superintendent, Lorenzo Garcia.  Garcia ran a grade manipulation system so that he could get bonuses for improved test scores.

Close to two hundred people attended the Rotary Club meeting, which organizers say was one of the largest turnouts in recent years.

Margo told the audience there's a lot at stake, and he encouraged them to participate in the process of fixing the problems.  Margo said, "If asked to do the job do it, it's important,  it's critical."

But Margo cautioned the crowd not to expect overnight success, he said, "It takes three years to change the culture of an organization, and we got maybe a year-and-a-half given where we are."

Beaumont Mayor Becky Ames endorses a takeover, she told us, "It's a difficult thing for me to say cause it's the last thing I wanted to happen, but at some point something has to change, and I'm at that point now."

But Councilwoman Get Williams-Wright is not as sure, she said, "I don't have enough information on it to know if I support it or not, but I do know one thing, we need to get everything cleared up for our students and our teachers."


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