Judge Mickey Shuffield ruled Thursday afternoon that the Beaumont Independent School District violated state law regarding bid procedures involving West Brook High School field house, as well as, in the bidding for construction of the new auditorium being built on the campus and has halted the progress on the field house. The judge ruled that BISD would be required to present information at a permanent injunction hearing but is letting work continue on thee auditorium, for now..
The ruling immediately stops any ongoing work at the field house by BISD's contractors. This is the second time a retraining order has been successfully sought by local attorneys Mike Getz and David Vann de Cordova. In both instances, separate judge - one in federal court and now one in state court - have found that BISD violated the law in how it chose the contractor to perform work for the district's $388.6 million bond initiative.
Earlier in the day, BISD's attorney Melody Chappell argued that her client had followed proper procurement procedures despite that argument being 180-degrees contrary to the one she used in federal court when U.S. District Judge Ron Clark entered a permanent injunction and forced the district to go out for bids a second time on the field house project. Now, Shuffield has ruled there was enough information presented in his courtroom on Thursday to show BISD's new bidding and selection process also ran afoul of the law.
When questioned if all the projects had been bid improperly, Chappell admitted BISD had mishandled the bidding on the auditorium.
In his ruling on the auditorium issue Shuffield stated there was enough information to show that BISD violated the law there, as well, but because the project was already 8-months into construction he wrote the court, "will determine if injunctive relief is warranted in light of the stage of its progress and potential detriment to the public after parties have had an opportunity to present a complete record to the court."
Getz said he was pleased with the ruling.
"It is sad that we have to keep going back to court to get BISD to comply to the law," said Getz. "We have now seen that we have a school district that is bound and determined to do whatever they can to keep people who knowing where they spending taxpayers' money, what they are spending it on and what they are doing. This behavior has to stop."
Attempts to reach Chappell for comment via email were unsuccessful at the time this story was posted.