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The following is an archived video story. The text content of that video story is available below for reference. The original video has been deleted and is no longer available.

KFDM first to report TEA taking over BISD; new details

BEAUMONT/AUSTIN - by Scott Lawrence

As KFDM News was first to report, the Texas Education Agency has ordered a takeover of the Beaumont ISD with a board of managers replacing the school board and a TEA-appointed superintendent replacing Dr. Timothy Chargois by June 15. The board will be in place for no more than two years. A school board election must take place within two years of the takeover. The agency has also lowered the district's accreditation.

 

In the meantime, Education Commissioner Michael Williams has elevated the special education monitor, Fred Shafer, to conservator," DeEtta Culberston of the TEA told KFDM News. "He's there to help keep the district on track. If there's a decision or policy made that runs contrary to what the district should be doing, or is detrimental, he can overrule that decision. The Commissioner's (Michael Williams) goal is to appoint a new superintendent and a board of managers to replace the board of trustees by June 15. There must be an election within two years."

 

BISD has until April 24 to request a TEA review of its decision. On the agenda for Thursday's board meeting, BISD trustees are scheduled to consider hiring legal counsel for a possible appeal of the TEA action.

Stay with KFDM and kfdm.com for further details.

Click here to read the letter from TEA Commissioner Michael Williams to BISD.     

The district emailed a response early Monday afternoon:

Michael Williams, Commissioner of the Texas Education Agency, in a letter dated April 14, 2014 has expressed his decision to appoint a Board of Managers and superintendent to conduct the day to day operations of BISD.  The district is considering its options. Further details are forthcoming.

The current Board and Superintendent are still managing the day to day operations of the district.  The agenda review meeting will continue as scheduled.  According to the TEA,  the lowered status has no impact on the validity of high school diplomas issued by Beaumont ISD, nor does it impact graduates' ability to gain college admissions.a

Nakisha Myles, MPA
Beaumont Independent School District
Communications Specialist
Office of the Superintendent


"The special education monitor, Fred Shafer, has been elevated to conservator," DeEtta Culberston of the TEA told KFDM News. "He's there to help keep the district on track. If there's a decision or policy made that runs contrary to what the district should be doing, or is detrimental, he can overrule that decision. The Commissioner's (Michael Williams) goal is to appoint a new superintendent and a board of managers to replace the board of trustees by June 15. There must be an election within two years."

Culbertson spoke with us about potential candidates to serve on the board of managers.

"He's (Commissioner Williams) taking input and guidance from many community leaders for names of potential candidates to serve on the board of managers. In the past, like in El Paso, we've had five people serve on the board of managers. Usually not more than five. Commissioner Williams wants a board that is representative of the community."

KFDM spoke with school board member Woodrow Reece about the decision.

"I expected it after talking to Mr. Williams when he visited Beaumont," school board member Woodrow Reece told KFDM News. "I recommended a conservator but not the death penalty. We didn't do anything as bad as El Paso or other districts that were taken over. I know there are powerful people in Beaumont who wanted a takeover. And he (Commissioner Williams) is a Republican, bless his soul. The kids will be okay. But at the end of the day, you bring some folks in here, you'll further divide the community. This community is still split. When the TEA leaves, the community will be split again."

Reece told us he plans to run again for the school board whenever another election is held. He told us he believes some other board members may also want to run again.

According to the TEA, The Beaumont Independent School District may request a record review of the appointment of a board of managers and its lowered accreditation status, as well as request an informal review of the conservator assignment. A request for a record review and/or an informal review must be submitted in writing and received by the Texas Education Agency no later than April 24, 2014.

Pending the outcome of this final review, the board of managers appointment will become effective on June 15, 2014.
Once in place, the appointed board of managers will assume all responsibilities of the elected board of trustees. The board of managers will be in place for up to two years. A school board election must be called within two years of this appointment.

TEA STATEMENT:

Commissioner Williams to appoint Beaumont ISD Board of Managers

AUSTIN - Texas Commissioner of Education Michael Williams today announced his decision to appoint a board of managers to oversee the management of the Beaumont Independent School District (BISD). The Commissioner also announced his intent to name a new superintendent for the district.

The Commissioner's decision follows two recent Texas Education Agency investigations into various BISD special education, finance and governance issues. Based on findings in those reports, Agency staff recommended to the Commissioner the appointment of a board of managers and the lowering of the Beaumont ISD accreditation.

"This is a critical time for the district and its students, as well as for the community as a whole," wrote Commissioner Williams in a letter to the current BISD superintendent and board president. "The magnitude of the findings, the serious nature of the ongoing and systemic operating deficiencies facing the district, and the importance of preventing further harm to the welfare of the Beaumont ISD's students and to the public interest compel me to appoint a board of managers at this time."

Commissioner Williams will formally announce the names of those serving on the board of managers, as well as an interim superintendent, at a future date. He is hopeful a board of managers can stabilize and strengthen BISD, while also focusing on the education it provides to students.

The board of managers - which will be comprised of a majority of members from the Beaumont community - will be responsible for overseeing the management of the Beaumont Independent School District, including oversight of the district's efforts to address and correct identified deficiencies and to implement effective structural and procedural improvement strategies for long-term, positive change.

Following staff recommendations, Commissioner Williams has spent the last several weeks speaking with Beaumont community and business leaders, parents, students and local stakeholders regarding issues within the district. The Commissioner utilized that community input before reaching his decision.

"For quite some time now, local district leadership has had various warnings and multiple opportunities to address the many troubling issues surrounding the Beaumont Independent School District," said Commissioner Williams. "The people of Beaumont have waited patiently for action, but made it very clear to me that they are now ready to restore the damaged reputation of their local school district."

As a result of findings in the special education investigation, BISD was assigned a monitor to oversee special education. Commissioner Williams is escalating that monitor role to that of a conservator. The conservator will oversee the operations of the district and ensure the district is taking appropriate measures until a board of managers is in place.

Finally, the accreditation of the Beaumont Independent School District will be lowered to Accredited-Probation. The lowered status has no impact on the validity of high school diplomas issued by Beaumont ISD, nor does it impact graduates' ability to gain college admissions.

The Beaumont Independent School District may request a record review of the appointment of a board of managers and its lowered accreditation status, as well as request an informal review of the conservator assignment. A request for a record review and/or an informal review must be submitted in writing and received by the Texas Education Agency no later than April 24, 2014.

Pending the outcome of this final review, the board of managers appointment will become effective on June 15, 2014.
Once in place, the appointed board of managers will assume all responsibilities of the elected board of trustees. The board of managers will be in place for up to two years. A school board election must be called within two years of this appointment.


 

Tonight on KFDM Channel 6

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KFDM 6 NEWS AT 6
6:30 -
WHEEL OF FORTUNE
7:00 -
BIG BANG THEORY
7:30 -
The Millers
8:00 -
The Crazy Ones
8:30-
Two and a Half Men
9:00 -
Elementary
10:00 -
KFDM 6 NEWS TONIGHT AT 10

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