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BISD superintendent finishes meeting with Education Commissioner
BEAUMONT - by Scott Lawrence
The Beaumont ISD superintendent has completed a meeting at the Region Five office in downtown Beaumont Thursday morning with the Education Commissioner, who is holding a series of meetings throughout the day with administrators and board members in his effort to determine whether to follow a TEA staff recommendation to take over the Beaumont ISD and appoint a board of managers to replace the school board. We're told he won't make a final decision Thursday.
Watch KFDM and stay with kfdm.com for updates.
A KFDM News photographer was in the lobby of the downtown building where Region Five offices are located when Dr. Timothy Chargois arrived at about 10:30 a.m. for his meeting with Michael Williams. the Commissioner of Education, and when Dr. Chargois left shortly after the noon hour.
Board President Gwen Ambres also arrived Thursday morning for her meeting.
Williams plans meetings with other board members, who'll visit with him in separate groups Thursday afternoon. Woodrow Reece told KFDM he'll meet with Williams at 1 p.m. Mike Neil and Tom Neild are scheduled to meet at 2 p.m.
The TEA staff is recommending a takeover and the appointment of a board of managers as well as a lowering of the district's accreditation. The recommendation is part of the agency's final report on BISD's financial management. It's one of five areas the agency is investigating. It's already appointed a monitor to oversee Special Education. The agency is also preparing reports about claims of cheating on tests, governance and student attendance.
BISD responded to the blistering financial report and said it's making changes. The TEA says the district has had years to implement recommendations for improving financial management and has ignored the suggestions.
The TEA final report on financial management concluded, among other things:
*BISD has suffered a severe loss of public trust and has acquired a reputation in the community that is tainted by multiple incidents of fraud, waste and abuse.
*BISD still has severely deficient internal controls and does not have the capability to gain management control over its finances and operations.
KFDM News has confirmed the TEA staff is recommending a takeover of the Beaumont ISD and the installation of a board of managers, but the Education Commissioner hasn't made a final decision and plans to visit BISD Thursday to get feedback from the board and staff. We're told he won't make a decision at that time but will take the matter under consideration. State Representative Joe Deshotel would help recommend names for a board of managers if the district is taken over. He told KFDM News he spoke with Commissioner Michael Williams late Tuesday and says Williams has not made a decision and won't make a decision Thursday.
DeEtta Culberston with TEA told KFDM News Tuesday afternoon the agency has released its final report on the district's financial management, and she says the takeover recommendation is based on that final report.
"I can confirm, yes, we've released the final staff report on the financial investigation and it does include a recommendation to the Commissioner, which is to install a board of managers," Culbertson told KFDM News.
"No final decision has been made."
State Representative Joe Deshotel tells KFDM News TEA Commissioner Michael Williams is coming to BISD Thursday to meet with board members, staff and others.
Rep. Deshotel says Williams will ask the board and staff why they believe he should or shouldn't follow the recommendation.
If Commissioner Williams recommends a takeover, Deshotel and State Rep. Allan Ritter will help pick a board of managers, instead of school board members, to oversee the district.