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Beaumont ISD board cannot place stadium name change for vote on May ballot

Beaumont ISD's school board attorney said the stadium name change issue cannot be placed on the May ballot for a community vote.

BEAUMONT, Texas — Beaumont ISD's school board is not able to put a stadium name change up for community vote on the May ballot.

The school board held a special meeting at 5:45 p.m. Monday, Jan. 25. The first action item on the agenda was to consider a procedure to conduct a community vote about changing Memorial Stadium's name after it was renamed in 2018. 

"We have been briefed by the attorney that's not something within our purview to do, so that is a moot item from this point forward," Beaumont ISD board president Thomas Sigee said during the meeting. 

Ward 2 City Councilmember Mike Getz was the only citizen to comment on the meeting. Getz has long been one of the most vocal opponents of renaming the stadium for former superintendent Carrol Thomas. 

"I completely support the actions of the majority of the board from last Thursday night in refusing to consider to rename the football stadium," Getz said. "I also would have supported the placing of this issue on the ballot, but I have come to understand that there are legal reasons that cannot be done."

WATCH | Beaumont ISD school board special meeting Jan. 25

Beaumont ISD's school board had on the Jan. 21 agenda action items to  "approve the renaming of the Beaumont Independent School District Memorial Stadium to the Dr. Carrol A. 'Butch' Thomas Stadium" and "approve Naming of the Beaumont Independent School District Memorial Football Field the Carrol A. 'Butch' Thomas Field."

The stadium was originally named after former superintendent Dr. Carrol A. 'Butch' Thomas. Thomas and his administration were accused of mismanaging a $389 million bond in 2007. 

Cost overruns led to a stadium price tag of $45 million, $15 million dollars over projections. 

A Beaumont ISD news release from 2018 said the decision to change the name of the stadium was made "in an effort to bridge divisions within the Beaumont community."

The release said the cost of moving the original name from both sides of the press box building was $28,050. 

"Thanks to two anonymous donations of $25,000 each, the district will not incur any cost," the district said.

Some were not happy with the decision. In 2018, six board members voted for the name change and one person abstained. 

Related coverage:

Southeast Texas leaders divided over renaming of Beaumont ISD stadium

Beaumont ISD board votes against Memorial Stadium renaming at Thursday meeting

Beaumont ISD board to vote on changing name of Memorial Stadium again two years after renaming

Beaumont ISD board postpones decision on stadium name change

Beaumont ISD to consider changing name of Memorial Stadium two years after board approved current name

Beaumont school board votes to change name of stadium

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