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TEA refers complaint about BISD booster club to UIL
BEAUMONT - by Lauren Huet
The Texas Education Agency referred a complaint it received about a Beaumont Independent School District booster club to the University Interscholastic League (UIL) Monday morning. Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Schools, Patricia Lambert, called a meeting at 9:30 a.m. Monday, with a booster club representative from Ozen High School, West Brook High School, and Central High School.
The UIL confirmed that it received the TEA's referral Monday morning, but can not say whether or not there will be an investigation.
Booster clubs raise money for their respective student organization or club. Many football boosters raise money through concession sales at football games, and the money goes to support student football.
Representatives at todays meeting say it addressed claims that teachers, not parents, are running Central High School's booster club, and are being paid to work the concession stand.
"Coming out of that meeting they were very staunch and said, 'yes, it is a booster club, [no] it is not ran by the school, not by paid workers.' Like I said, me personally, I can't answer that until, like we said earlier, some verification is shown," said Bo Kelley, the president of the West Brook High School football booster club.
Bo Kelley, representing West Brook's football booster, and Raquel West, representing Ozen's all-sports booster, say the meeting placed a positive spin on booster clubs.
"To put a lot of the community at rest," said West, "To know each campus has and does do a lot of positive things for the kids on each campus. That's all the meeting was about."
Kelly says his West Brook football booster club can verify its expenditures to parents. He suggests Central High School do the same.
"The best way to put a positive spin on [boosters] is to give [parents] what they need," said Kelley. "People are calling me wanting to know what's going on, can we verify where our expenditures are, how are we paying our ten percent, do we pay our ten percent to the school? All of those are yes, yes, and yes. We can verify it any given day. And that's what I was telling them, that they needed to do that. "
West worries that negative reports about Central's booster club will cause people to question all booster clubs.
"All these allegations, our kids are hurting on each campus right now with all the negativity that's being done right now with our district in the media," said West.
The booster representative for Central High School, Ronald Kelley, who is also an agriculture teacher at the school, wouldn't speak with us.