What a shocker

Shocking! A representative of the law firm that has helped the Beaumont Independent School District secretly settle lawsuits for less than $50,000 so they wouldn’t have to be made public is now recommending the board not involve members of the community in its search for a new school superintendent.

It would be wonderful if this were an anomaly – that BISD simply wanted to keep any outside influences from tainting the selection process – but history isn’t on the side of the trustees or outgoing Superintendent Carrol Thomas. For years, Thomas and several of his cronies on the school board have conducted business in secret, so why should things be different now?

Already there are rumors the board has negotiated another deal with someone to fill Thomas’ shoes.

Again, why would things be any different now than they have been in the past? After all, Thomas was hired at BISD as one of the highest paid superintendents in the history of the state, and the deal was struck at his home with just one board trustee.

The late Howard Trahan offered Thomas the job he currently holds. And however it happened from there, Thomas negotiated an evergreen contract that originally gave him an automatic 5 percent annual raise and made it impossible for him to be fired.

BISD patrons were left out of Thomas’ hiring process, something that should not be allowed to happen again.

Next year things will change and all bets are off for the current regime holding on to power. The board of trustees, as it currently sits, will no longer be made up of individuals from districts that make it nearly impossible for them to be voted out of office. The new five-two system will, for the first time, allow at-large trustees who can be a voice for all BISD patrons – something that is no doubt feared by the current board majority.

If there ever was a time for people to become more involved in the daily business of BISD, it is now. This newspaper will be there to shine the light on every aspect of the superintendent selection process, but don’t let us do it alone. Stand up and make your voices heard.