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TEA Conservator over BISD orders superintendent to cut more positions from administration

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BEAUMONT - 12News has obtained a memo sent to Beaumont Independent School District superintendent Timothy Chargois, Ed.D from the Texas Education Conservator over BISD, Fred Shafer.

In it, Shafer writes, "The Superintendent is directed to establish a second Reduction in Force list of BISD Central Office positions in addition to the list of Central Office positions presented to the board at the June 9, 2014 Board meeting."
 
The memo goes on to say, "The list shall be comprised primarily of central office professional positions utilizing the personnel report developed by Mr. Bill Lenhart (BISD's financial consultant) and members of the Superintendent's Cabinet that was presented to the Superintendent and equaled a total personnel cost savings to the district of $2,404,626."

Shafer directs Chargois to present the list of additional Central Office personnel to the board of trustees for consideration and approval at the June 19, 2014 board meeting.

Meanwhile, students are sacrificing their summer break, to think of ways to save their teachers jobs.  West Brook Senior Austin Bienvenu said, "I can't take a break until all this is over with."

It was on Monday that BISD students from several campuses joined forces for a large rally outside the school board meeting.

It's safe to say their presence made an impact by pressuring board trustees to blink and postpone a vote on laying off teachers.

But the students don't want the momentum to die. 

Wednesday afternoon, they gathered at the Theodore Johns Library and brainstormed as intently as if they were studying for finals.

Most of the young people are enrolled in fine arts programs.  The initial proposed layoffs would have gutted programs like drama, choir, band and dance.

But when they took a stand, board trustees listened and told the superintendent to take fine arts off the cutting block.  Dr. Chargois agreed, not to make the job cuts severe enough to jeopardize the programs.

Tony Trevino, an Ozen Senior, said, "We have to make sure he's trustworthy enough to do it."

But the students are now not just focused on fine arts teachers, they believe no teacher has to go, if administrators look to to other options.

During Wednesday afternoon's meeting, they made bold suggestions like selling the Thomas Stadium or making Chargois take a pay cut.

Eryn English, an Ozen Senior, said, "We feel like if the pressure's on them, then maybe, they'll reconsider."

The students are also upset about a proposed budget summary that's been floating around the community.  It shows the district making cuts in all departments except Central administration, which according to the summary actually gets about a $4 million hike.

Ozen theater arts teacher Gina Martin said, "There's been a lot of about this being on the back of the teachers, but in reality it's on the backs of the students."

The students' efforts have been helped by social media, they promote their  cause through Twitter, and on Facebook.  Their Facebook page is Save The Teachers/Fine Arts

It's through social media that they've gotten the attention of the Texas Education Commissioner.  Michael Williams follows them on Twitter, and even tweets them back.

Several of the students will be taking their protest to Austin.  That's where on Monday, BISD will seek an order to prevent Commissioner Williams from replacing the elected board of trustees with a board of managers, in essence stopping the TEA takeover.

The students hope their presence will help convince the judge not to grant BISD the injunction.


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