BISD trustees acknowledge state takeover is unavoidable, and tak - 12 News KBMT and K-JAC. News, Weather and Sports for SE Texas

BISD trustees acknowledge state takeover is unavoidable, and take parting shots at Commissioner of Education

BEAUMONT - Monday night's raucous Beaumont Independent School District board meeting could very well be the last one for the current trustees.

Board Vice President Janice Brassard told 12News, "As for anything I know at this point, the commissioner will be taking over."

The majority of the board has been fighting a state takeover for weeks, but it appears they have reached their breaking point.  Massive public pressure at board meetings has taken a toll.

That is why four of the six board members present at Monday's meeting abstained from casting a vote on a proposed list of layoffs.  The measure would have left more than 100 BISD employees without a job.

Jobs were saved, but possibly not for long. The Texas Education Agency's conservator over BISD Fred Shafer said a reduction in force is necessary.  But most teachers say they would trust an appointed board of managers to do the cuts more than the current board.

Brassard said that is why the burden should be the managers appointed by Commissioner Williams. 

She said the cuts will probably be more severe. 

"Because many of the people are only going to be business people, they are not really going to understand classroom management," she said

Trustee Woodrow Reece said he could not pass the buck.  He was the only trustee to vote for the layoffs.  He said without the reduction in force, BISD might not have enough money to start school next year.  Even though he believes the takeover will happen, Reece thinks Commissioner Wiliams' actions are wrong. 

"I mean just walking right over us and the voters cause people put me in office for a reason, not for a commissioner to take me out of my seat," said Reece.

Trustees are going ahead with a record review on July 10, which is basically an appeal to the Texas Education Agency, but they do not expect it to go their way, and since Commissioner Williams is limiting the board's authority to spend on legal fees, their options appear to be gone.

Reece said he has not ruled out contacting the U.S. Department of Justice.

State Board of Education Member David Bradley had this to say about the situation, "Given what we've seen in the last couple days, I think this board is giving up finally. They just don't know how to do it. Having lost they're just going to dynamite the train tracks and leave as big a mess as possible."

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