For almost two years, the BISD board has known the will of the voters is to change from a 7/0 board to a 5/2 method of representation. Not something the majority on the board wanted, for certain, since they probably would lose some seats and certainly their ability to run the district like a monarchy.
From the beginning, their strategy was really quite simple: delay the change as long as possible and flavor the deliberation with well-orchestrated opposition. Next, pull out the race card.
When the 5/2 plan was turned down in late December 2012 because, in the Department of Justice’s opinion, it would be retrogressive to the African-American community, the stage was set to adopt a plan that would all but guarantee the status quo and the continuing reign of the sitting trustees.
Then came the surprise. March 1, 2013, one sitting board member and three potential opponents, led by an ambitious legal team looking to topple this “monarchy” using the law of the state, appeared at the district office to get their names on the ballot. The monarchs fought back and once again, even after the Texas 9th Court of Appeals ruled against the BISD board, time was on their side. If they could run the clock out, the ruling would save their reign.
The DOJ Civil Rights division doesn’t know the hearts and minds of the voters in Beaumont. Considering the behavior of some Texans — even our governor and attorney general — it wasn’t hard for them to believe any change would be retrogressive to African-Americans.
Sure, many who signed the petition to get the 5/2 plan on the ballot might have thought of it as a way to get control back in the hands of the “white community,” thinking that for some reason it would make things better. But the truth is, power without oversight is corrupting to men and women of all races. And many in the community — white and black — are tired of the lies, the deception and the exaggerations of this board and administration in the education of our children, the handling of our tax dollars, and the basic stewardship of one of the largest and most important institutions in our community.
That will not change soon because the clock has run out and the next election is already rigged in the incumbents’ favor.
What can you do now? You could move — or you can fight to take our schools back from this corrupt regime. Get involved, go to the board meetings, ask questions, and report things you see if they are wrong or illegal. Speak out and on the record. Don’t turn your back, or you are turning your back on our entire community. If you think we are too tough on the district, take a close look. Are you getting the best education for your kids? Don’t listen to the false statements about achievement. Look at your kids. Are they prepared for the next stage of their lives? If not, fight to change it.