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BISD superintendent responds to suggestions he take a pay cut - 12 News KBMT and K-JAC. News, Weather and Sports for SE Texas

BISD superintendent responds to suggestions he take a pay cut

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BEAUMONT - Beaumont Independent School District students trying to prevent the layoffs of teachers have suggested that the district's top man, Superintendent Timothy Chargois, Ed.D should take a pay cut.

We asked Chargois about that.  He said he'd take one, but in the context of an across the board one with all employees taking a cut.

He says his salary cut alone wouldn't help get the district the $25 million it needs to get out of its financial hole.  Chargois says it would just be a symbolic gesture.

The naming rights for the football stadium, selling off property and consolidating school were just some of the options brought up at Thursday night's board of trustees meeting.

Despite the suggestions, layoffs remain on the table.

Chargois told trustees that there really can't be much budget planning until a decision is made on job cuts.

He says personnel is 85% of the budget.

The vote on layoffs is scheduled for next Tuesday, but the debate is far from over.

The current disagreement is on how much to cut from the top.

The Texas Education Agency's conservator over BISD, Fred Shafer, has directed Chargois to cut more positions from central administration, totaling $2.4 million.

Shafer said, "We're scrutinizing the positions at the campus level, I think central office ought to take the lead in making sure they're scrutinizing every position at central office as well."

Chargois told 12News his objective is to comply with authority, and that he would follow Shafer's directive as much as he could.

He said, "Our district is already below the administration to staff ratio, so trying to apply that many cuts would probably be detrimental to the district."

Trustee Mike Neil believes it would be a bad move for Chargois not to make the cuts the TEA conservator has requested.  Neil said, "Thumbing your nose at this is not a good idea, it just sets up for a battle we don't need right now."

Chargois also defended a proposed $4 million increase in next fiscal year's budget for central administration.  He says that's because of an increase in legal fees and unemployment insurance.

Meanwhile, BISD students continue protesting at board meetings in hopes of saving teacher jobs.  West Brook senior Austin Bienvenu said, "We are going to do whatever we can to keep the pressure on."

Most of the students are enrolled in Fine Arts, and they got into this battle when they learned district job cuts would gut the Fine Arts departments.

But they're also not happy with a recommendation Chargois made Thursday of charging a participation fee for extracurricular activities.

Chargois did have words of praise for the students.  He said, "I do want to thank them for being very well behaved, I think they are setting the example for some of the people who are coming, who have just, for lack of a better word, just lost decorum."

Conservator Fred Shafer also commended the students.  Shafer said, "I think it's reassuring that we have students, young people, who are concerned about their school district, and I'm pleased to see that, they're out here supporting the school district."

During Thursday's meeting, board members also expressed concern about assistant principals at the elementary school level being laid off.  Trustee Janice Brassard said cuts should be made higher in the food chain.
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