The retirement “Extravaganza” for Dr. Carrol Thomas wasn’t supposed to cost taxpayers a dime when the Beaumont Council of PTAs was sponsoring the event. Yet, less than two months later, the PTA’s been dropped, BAABSE is now headlining the event and taxpayers are on the hook for $1,600 after BISD put down a deposit for the event — and canceled.
Constance Kemp, president of the Beaumont Council of PTAs, said in June that no taxpayer dollars would be spent on the “extravaganza” and sponsors would foot the bill. Kemp confirmed Wednesday, Aug. 1, that her group was not sponsoring the event any longer and Ron Reynolds, communications specialist for BISD, also confirmed that the Beaumont Area Alliance for Black Student Educators had taken over sponsorship of the event. However, neither gave a reason as to why BAABSE is now the sponsor.
According to a source at the Beaumont Civic Center, a staffer from BISD canceled plans for the reception last week that was supposed to be held at the new Beaumont Event Center, after the district had already paid some $1,600 to reserve the space. The district had tentatively reserved the Civic Center for the event’s entertainment gala, but never put down a deposit. While the $1,600 put down to reserve the event center is non-refundable, the district was given a credit for the money it spent and has until Aug. 23, 2013, to use the credit.
BAABSE has no Web site but, as required by the IRS to maintain its tax-exempt status, BAABSE filed a 990 form in 2011 reporting gross receipts for the year “not greater than $50,000.” Sybil Comeaux, executive director of personnel for BISD, is listed as the primary officer of BAABSE.
According to an e-mail to BISD employees from Jessie Haynes, special assistant to the superintendent who oversees the BISD communications department, the event is moving to Ozen High School. The reception, which is free of charge, will be held at the Ozen main gym. The entertainment portion of the event, the gala, will be held at the brand new Ozen High Auditorium. The Dancin’ in the Streets Motown and More Revue will still be providing the entertainment; however, the ticket prices to go see the group out of Houston has risen since the event moved from the Civic Center.
The poster for the event lists ticket prices starting at $43 for general admission, $64 for center seating and $80 for premium mezzanine seating. Fewer than 800 seats are available and will go on a “first come, first serve” basis. Previously, ticket prices were listed at $16.
The price to book Motown and More Revue is in the $10,000 to $15,000 price range.
Hayes also indicated in her e-mail that “proceeds will benefit several educational projects such as student immunizations, parent training, scholarships, playground equipment and more.”