“This is their way to stick it to the kids one more time,” BISD West Brook High School football booster club president Joey Hilliard said after receiving official notice that the school district plans to take over the football game concession fundraiser that supports the athletic club throughout the school year. “It’s just not right.”
An e-mail sent to the student activities directors at each of the Beaumont Independent School District high schools May 15 does not expressly define whether the booster clubs would still have access to the funding they have enjoyed in the past, but none of the presidents of the booster clubs were directly notified of the change in concession stand administration. According to the e-mail, concessions for BISD football games will now be under the administration of the BISD Child Nutrition Department. Further negotiation would be pondered, according to the correspondence, with the campus student activities directors to train the new concession administrators in how things were done in the past.
“They’re trying to effectively knock the last two boosters out,” Hilliard said. Only Ozen High School and West Brook High School have football booster clubs that are run by parent volunteers, not campus administration. At Central High School, agriculture teacher Ron Kelley heads the campus’ football booster club – a booster club currently being reviewed by federal investigators for improperly spending the booster’s money on administrator wants and needs instead of funding student athletics. West Brook High School’s booster club also attracted the attention of federal investigators due to improper spending by the program’s president. The difference, Hilliard said, is that in the case of former West Brook booster president Bo Kelley, the system in place within the club uncovered Kelley’s actions and it was the booster club that reported the crime to law enforcement. Central High School booster club administrators still have not audited the campus booster, despite law enforcement intervention that was sparked after parent volunteers complained to authorities that the students of Central High School were being ripped off.
“We had one bad egg and we got rid of it,” Hilliard said. “Everything we did was above board. We took care of things. We didn’t try to sweep it under the rug like Central did. At West Brook, they were caught; they were dealt with swiftly.”
Hilliard said he was able to get word from BISD’s new child nutrition director, Randy Milton from Houston, that the new concessions administrator was taking over operation under orders from BISD Superintendent Timothy Chargois due to all the scandals currently being scrutinized by authorities.
“We (West Brook football booster club) reported our issue to the authorities; we didn’t do what Central did,” Hilliard said. “But even if they wanted to punish us for what happened, why punish Ozen?”
According to information given to Hilliard, the Child Nutrition Department is open to discussion about sharing the proceeds of the concession funds, but Hilliard is skeptical about how much funding the football booster will receive.
“We don’t know what they’re going to do with the money yet,” he said. “When they start to divvy it out to all the different student clubs at all the campuses, each club may get $50 or something.”
Whether the campus boosters will get any funding is also contingent on parents and students still volunteering to work for BISD for free.
“They still want us to send parent and student volunteers - otherwise, they’re going to pay BISD workers overtime to do it,” Hilliard noted. “They’re going to end up paying nutrition workers overtime because who is going to come in and work for them?
“I’m not working for BISD.
“This is ridiculous.”
Hilliard added that when the football booster club loses funding, other campus clubs lose funding as well.
“We bring in between $6,000 and $7,000 a day,” Hilliard said. “From that, we paid Key Club and Student Council $3,000 to work the concessions. That’s the money they would use to go to their competitions, and now that’s not there anymore. They don’t even know what’s going on yet.”