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BISD attorney prepared to fight "as long as it takes"
HOUSTON - By Justin Hinton, KFDM News
The attorney representing the Beaumont school district in its appeal of the ordered state takeover says he is prepared to fight as long as it takes.
The Board has asked me to protect the district and that's what we're going to do, and we're going to take every action necessary to protect the district from what we believe is an unlawful action by the commissioner, Chris Tritico said.
Tritico would not detail what unlawful action was taken by the Commissioner as it related to ordering a state takeover.
I don't want to get into all that today, because I don't want to get into my trial strategy, but I can tell you that our investigation so far, and we have only been involved a week, but our investigation so far indicates that he has not followed the law as laid out by the legislature in the way that you can remove a Board of Trustees and a Superintendent, he said.
In the meantime, hes waiting to receive documents requested from the Texas Education Agency that would be used to refute and rebut the findings in the Commissioners letter.
According to that letter, BISD has suffered a severe loss of public trust and has acquired a reputation in the community that is stained by multiple incidents of fraud, waste and abuse.
It went on to say BISD still has severely deficient internal controls and does not have the capability to gain management control over its finances and operations.
Take out the theft, there really aren't any major issues academically with the district, said Tritico. The Special Ed issues can be fixed without conservatorship and without a new board. Thefts are generally a one-time issue.
Tritico admits he cant be sure that employees wont steal from the district in the future, but says the Board of Trustees should not be blamed for their actions.
The fact that a theft occurred is horrible and it's bad for the taxpayers, but it doesn't warrant the removal of the elected board, he said. We've seen far worse financial mismanagement all over the state of Texas that no one has had this action taken against them. Worse than this.
Another concern for taxpayers is the amount of money needed to spend on the appeals process.
It is unclear how much it would cost, but Tritico said no amount is too high.
Its never too much when the commissioner is violating the law. I dont get to violate the law. You dont get to violate the law, and so if the commissioner is violating the law, the voters should stand up, regardless of their view of whats happening. They should stand up and say we cant allow you to violate our rights and our elections on a whim and so yes, the Beaumont ISD needs to fight this and they need to fight this all the way, he said.