BISD planetarium to remain open

BISD planetarium to remain open

Sharon Rigsby, planetarium teacher at the Murray J. Frank Planetarium, was removed from the latest Beaumont Independent School District Reduction in Force (RIF) list. Rigsby’s name was not called when a notice of proposed termination due to financial exigency was announced at a BISD Special Meeting July 28. BISD communications specialist Nakisha Myles confirmed the decision in an interview with The Examiner, but was unable to specify why the decision was reached.

“Her name was taken off the list,” Myles said, also confirming that the planetarium will remain open.

Rigsby, who attended the meeting, said she was delighted when her name was not called for proposed termination and plans to move forward as BISD planetarium teacher, a position she has held for the past five years.

“I’m tickled pink,” Rigsby said. “I think this is a wise move moving forward. There are things that we can do to reduce our costs and do whatever it takes to help this Board of Managers be successful.”

Rigbsy said she is busy coming up with new science material to teach BISD students.

“I was in my office this morning (Wednesday, July 30) working on lessons,” she said. “What I am doing right now is coming up with strategies to make sure the planetarium is successful,” Rigsby said.

She credits teachers, students and the community for expressing their desire to keep the program alive.

“It was the support of the (people) of Beaumont that helped make this happen,” Rigsby said. “I’m extremely grateful.”

Others were not so lucky as the Board of Managers recommended termination for Lona Alexander-Mitchell, Veda Brown, Jessie Haynes and Jeffrey Nelson.

These employees must file a written request with the commissioner no later than the 15th day after receiving notice of proposed termination if they desire a hearing before an independent hearing examiner.

The Board also accepted Superintendent Timothy Chargois’ letter of resignation following announcement of the approval of interim superintendent Vernon Butler’s contract at a vote of 7-0.

Board President Jimmy Simmons proposed the term “interim” be removed from Butler’s title. The Board of Managers members voted 7-0 to do so and approve Butler’s contract. Simmons said Butler would not receive TRS-ActiveCare health benefits and would be an at-will employee, meaning that according to U.S. labor law, he could be dismissed for any reason and without warning.