BISD spends $100k-plus on black educators conference

BISD spends $100k-plus on black educators conference

Sending 88 Beaumont Independent School District employees to New Orleans for a meeting of the National Alliance of Black School Educators cost taxpayers more than $100,000, according to records obtained by The Examiner Newspaper.

But that does not include any sponsorships or fees paid by BISD that have not yet been released by the school district in response to a Texas Public Information Act request.

BISD Superintendent Carrol Thomas is the immediate past-president of NABSE. The organization is made-up of black educators from around the country and most of the attendees were minorities.

The keynote speaker on the opening day of the NABSE event being held at the Ernest M. Morial Convention Center was Rainbow/PUSH Coalition leader Rev. Jessie Jackson.

When questioned about errors that were found in the documents by The Examiner Newspaper, BISD assistant spokesperson Craig Eichhorn said the records released were incomplete and contained a few mistakes so the district was reviewing them. He said the district would release updated copies of the information and any supporting documentation, such as receipts, reimbursement documents and travel expense forms after the Christmas break, which will be in January 2012.

According to records from NABSE, the conference was scheduled from November 16-20 and registration cost $500 for non-members. Lodging at the host hotel – Hilton New Orleans Riverside – was $199 a night plus tax. According to Hilton’s reservation services the taxes on each room pushed the final total to $227.87 per night. Parking cost $34 a day for self-parking or $40 a day for valet and Internet service listed at $12.95 a day. If all 88 BISD employees obtained separate rooms at the host hotel the total cost for the room charges would be $20,052.56 not including parking or Internet service.

An overflow conference hotel – Embassy Suites New Orleans-Convention Center – was listed at $179 a night plus tax. A hotel representative said the total cost for the room including taxes would come to $204.27 a night plus $33 a day for parking. Internet service was $12.95 a day. The total cost for all 88 BISD employees to each have their own rooms at the Embassy Suites would have been $17,975.76.

The Examiner has confirmed that although some employees shared rides, most travelled in separate vehicles and were reimbursed for mileage at a rate of 51-cents per mile – the posted government rate. At that rate the cost of reimbursement for mileage would be $269.28 per vehicle.

The list of employees showed varying amounts of money being advanced for the trip. For example, Sybil Comeaux, who is the head of personnel for BISD and the president of the local NABSE chapter, known as the Beaumont Area Association of Black School Educators, received an advance of $1,807.92 while Central High School’s principal, Patricia Lambert, was given a $2,434.16 advance. But it was Janie Jackson, who works at the Woodrow Wilson annex, that received the largest advance at $5,844.


When pressed, Eichhorn said he was not sure about the numbers and had not reviewed the backup material because it was not yet available. He also said he did not know why the names of BISD trustees Mike Neil and Tom Neild were on the list as attending the conference. Both Neild and Neil said they told the district weeks in advance they weren’t attending the event.

“I don’t know why my name was put on that list,” Neild said. “I think it is something we need to look into and see if the names listed actually match those who went.”

Those thoughts were reiterated by board member Mike Neil, who said he also informed the district he would not being attending the NABSE convention.

Neil said he didn’t see the need to send so many people to a single event and he really didn’t see the need to deplete the staff development budget by more than $100,000 so BISD employees could party in New Orleans.

“Call it what you want but a party is a party,” Neil said. “I like parties but let’s call it what it is and not use staff development money that could help all teachers. I think the amount of money we spent was ridiculous. Spending that kind of money out of a development budget really cuts into how much development can now be provided to other teachers. How much more could we have done if we would have taken that $100,000 and spent it on bringing great speakers to Beaumont so that all of our teachers and administrators could benefit?

“This will hurt others who did not or could not attend a single event that was obviously geared toward a specific demographic. And that is another issue altogether.”

Neil’s comments were touched off by comments made by Thomas during Thursday night’s regular BISD board meeting, where he claimed BISD was the best district in the nation at educating black students.

“I am tired of everything being focused on segregated issues in this district,” Neil said. “I don’t care if it’s black, white, Hispanic; if this had been a LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens) meeting or some other group I would still feel the same way. The administration needs to realize that we have children of all races in this district and they are all important and should receive an equal education.”

*Information about NABSE can be found at



What is wrong with Getz getting up and presenting the facts?

So "Anonymous" asks "What is wrong with Getz getting up and presenting the facts?"

Hmmm. Good question! Let me list the ways:

Insist that school board

Insist that school board members value transparency and accountability.

How much money was wasted in 2010 on NABSE

We have information on 2011 advance payments. When the final reimbursement checks are cut to the chosen 88, I think you will find this destination party in New Orleans will cost the district several hundred thousand dollars. I am curious about last year, 2010. This was the conference where Dr. Thomas was inducted as president of the group. I believe this conference was held in Fort Worth. I wonder how many of his pals came to cheer for him at district expense. I found out from watching the Lamar/BISD TV channel that the Ozen gospel choir attended the conference to perform for Dr. Thomas. Did they sell cookie dough and flowers, and pay the balance like West Brook choir and band kids do? I don't know for sure, but an informed guess would indicate that the trip was paid for by the district. It is amazing how kind the system can be when it is for the boss's favorite group. The easiest way to be a big fish, is to go swim in an extremely small pond like NABSE.


Some of us are still digging, and a Public Information Request will be submitted to BISD regarding the 2010 Ft. Worth trip and well as any taxpayer-funds used for a select district choir to travel to and stay in New Orleans. The district office is closed until January 2.

BISD checks have also been written to the 100 Black Men of Beaumont organization, yes, the same group that proposed to the BISD board that the stadium be named for the fearless leader (Thomas, not the other dictator).

Looking for the right location and year

I may have said this in a confusing way before. The Ozen Gospel Choir went to the Fort Worth convention in 2010, not the 2011 vacation in New Orleans.

Ah, ha!

(thump on head)

Ah yes, of course, Mr. DeCordova, Esq..

I wish you and Mr. Getz luck in your endeavor to find the buried bodies and continue your pursuit to sue the BISD into submission as it has worked so swimmingly thus far.

With love,


You are right, Gets and

You are right, Gets and DeCordova are doing great things for our city and I hope they continue to do so!!!!!!

Assumptions, assumptions

Now, now Mark.

Assumptions can be a dangerous thing. Just look at the "trial of the century" this past week that was, according to some, supposed expose the corruption at BISD and produce the heads of Carrol Thomas, Jessie Haynes and others in his Administration.

All it did was expose a crooked electrician and some lazy individuals employed by BISD who didn't do their job or kicked the can down the road. So much for a superior American workforce, right?

Unfortunately, our corporate culture that ran amok during the last couple of decades when profits were high and profligates spent money with abandon has entered our government institutions all the way to the local level.

A problem? Yeah, now that taxpayers have felt the pinch of the recession have had to make adjustments and justifiably can't understand why government can't do so as well.

Nonetheless, it would be interesting to know how much was spent this trip and the one to Fort Worth though it is doubtful it will change anything.

By the way Examiner, I love the preview button.

Whose Money and What Benefit for Whom?

Fair and reasonable questions (1) What was the criteria in determining BISD selecting and subsidizing attendees of the 2011 NABSE gathering? (2) Will BISD subsidize future NABSE convention events in any manner . . . why or why not? (3) What is the BISD criteria for subsidizing ANY conference and WHO determines what dollar amount is allocated? (4) Why does BISD not provide full disclosure of all revenues and expenditures to the public via the the internet?

Would NABSE be able to pass an IRS audit AND a forensic audit? Why does NABSE not embrace and promote a mission that is fair and equal to ONE and ALL when NABSE wantingly and willfully benefits from taxpayers' funds?

Send PIA to BISD!

Please make a Public Information Request, in writing, to BISD for records that may shed light on your questions.

If your request is denied, or delayed beyond 10 days without written notification of record availability, there are some lawyers in town that would be glad to help.

The public must use the legal tools available to shed light on what Thomas and the gang of four are spending your tax money on and are otherwise doing with your assets and property.

New Orleans - NABSE

NABSE's entire board of directors is African-American. From its web-page:"NABSE officers, members, and affiliates have pledged themselves to continue serving as advocates for African-American children who have been poorly served in the past. They further pledge themselves to ensure that African-American students are effectively educated in the present and are accorded priority for the future, and to lead the way through the creation of a concrete model that demonstrates the goals of academic and cultural excellence set forth so clearly in Saving the African-American Child." You ask, "what about non-African-American children?"

Is not the mission of BISD to educate ALL children regardless of race equally? BISD administration's public comments do not reflect this mission; instead, the education of non-black children appears repeatedly as an afterthought in the comments made at board meetings by district leaders. BISD sending 88 employees to NABSE (admittedly, a black race-focused organization) at a taxpayer cost exceeding $100,000 merely highlights and confirms BISD's exclusionary, race-based and focused decision making, and its need repeatedly to assuage the Superintendent's rather delicate ego at taxpayer expense and no matter the cost to the truth.

Bisd administrators and most

Bisd administrators and most of the board members could care less about non black students. Why do you think so many non blacks are so pissed off. This is an overtly pro black administration and board. They love to use the race card as often as possible but the truth is they are the real racists and they don't even try to hide it. By the way, there continues to be a mass white exodus out of beaumont but these racist idiots could care less.

National Alliance of Black School Educators Conf.

Don't forget the cost of hiring substitute teachers for the time the attendees were out.

It looked to me like all of

It looked to me like all of the attendees were administrators. Substitutes are not needed/called for administrative staff. I would like to see the sign in sheets for each participant who supposedly attended these "conferences". I wonder if each participant had to sign in daily or morning and afternoon. Be interesting to see which employees skipped out on the conferences as many do.

It looked to me like all of

JustPeachy administrators do get subs who are usually teachers who are working on their masters who inturn would require a sub.

Send PIA Request to BISD

See my above comment regarding a Public Information Request to BISD. See if BISD required any type of verification.

Just Wrong

Why is it that the BISD teachers that recently attended the Texas Art Educators Association in Galveston only had their hotel accomidations covered by BISD? They paid for ALL their food and auto mileage/fuel.

Does this mean the recession is over?

"BISD Superintendent Carrol Thomas is the immediate past-president of NABSE."

Now this kinda confuses a stupid broad like me because I thought this whole shindig was in honor of Dr. Thomas being a current NABSE president.

Who knows? Not me!

But then again, I'm really impressed with the way Stacy Walker stood by her man through that whole trial ordeal, even got on the stand and testified in ol' Calvin's behalf even though it exposed herself to the scrutiny of the prosecutor. That's love. That's real love; either that or he is just really, really blessed in other ways only a wife could appreciate.

Now I'll slither off back to my pit, it's quiet there. I like it.

The tip pf the iceberg

I think we will all find that this is just the tip of the iceberg on cost. If I read correctly, these are the advance payments, not the final payments. Some of the people who requested a small advance of only a few hundred dollars will no doubt turn in total expenses for much more. As NO ONE internally controls or audits request for payment at the school district, I suppose it is easy to justify an advance payment of over $5,000 for someone when the average cost appear to be under $3000.00. I am only surprised that Calvin Walker's name wasn't on the list.

BISD best district and NOT at educating black students!

What good did the conference do for the "best district in the nation at educating black students?"

This is not a true statement as I have spend time at Vincent and Martin Luther King Middle schools trying to teach Finance. I was blown away at how many black students can't read, write or spell basic words.

It's scary to find out that the lower income schools are padding their grades and reading the TAKS test because the kids can't read, but yet the schools are rated Exemplary.

I'm guessing that this was all show for Carrol Thomas of how wonderful he is a the conference. Funny how other districts are laying off teachers and services and BISD once again waists our tax dollars on a few.

Perhaps those who attended the conference learned more tricks on how to cheat and cover up that we have a bunch of students that can't read or write in our schools. What a great thing for BISD to do to the students to set them up for failure.

You hit the nail on the head

You hit the nail on the head about something. I don't know whether to laugh or shake my head in disgust when I read how well we do on TAKS and how great we are at educating "BLACK" students. For starters, the biggest problem with the district, and more importantly, with the administrators (especially Dr Thomas) is that their main concern is with black children. They openly say it all the time and we just all think that is fine and dandy. Thank God for Mike Neil finally saying it isn't ok. Secondly, black students are not doing well in our district. Sure, maybe they pass the TAKS but, by and large, they are WAY behind. My wife teaches in the district and is amazed by how far behind the black kids are that are in her school (many of them transfers from other exemplary schools). I cannot believe our tests/test results aren't under EXTREME scrutiny. The method which most of them are admimistered is a joke and it is VERY easy for a semi-motivated teacher to cheat on the tests. Sure it only penalizes the kids but that isn't what matters. The teacher wants to look good and get that bonus and the Administrators encourage it so they look good. It is another big BISD FRAUD!!

Will they ever learn?

The problem with black students is not the educational system, it's the family support structure. Read to your children from birth. Spend quality time with them in interactive, educational, stumulating activity (play with them). The foundations for learning don't begin the day they walk into their first public school. This mentality of "someone else is responsible for me" will continue to be the bane otherwise. Carol Thomas is likely the worst thing that has happened to black students in the history of Beaumont public schools.

I totally agree. It is a

I totally agree. It is a shame the black community doesn't see his true colors.

I'm one of the employees who

I'm one of the employees who didn't receive a pay raise this year because BISD said they couldn't afford to give teachers their EARNED next step pay increase. Yet, BISD have $ to spend (waste) like this?!!! At some campuses teachers don't have ink for their classroom printers or enough paper to print on. WAKE UP BISD BOARD!!! Stop this nonsense!!!!!


The teachers should openly protest ... retaliation ... let'em try .... there will be so many federal suits ... the petty tyrants' heads would not spinning ....

Many teachers are afraid of

Many teachers are afraid of being black listed by Dr. T. Plus, if a teacher causes problems principals can assign those teachers more problem students making those teacher want to quit! Dr. T causes segregation in BISD with his black and white views. He does this to divide the community so that he can stay in power. If everyone focuses on race then no one is focusing on the real issues.

Wow. You are so right! You

Wow. You are so right! You sound just like my wife who teaches in the District. There is a real, justifiable, fear among teachers to stand up for what is right. The administration leads by fear. It is awful.

How were the 88 attendees

How were the 88 attendees selected?

You mean they didnt ride the

You mean they didnt ride the bus! That would have saved some money.

Ridiculous and biased waste

Ridiculous and biased waste of money.

Who really benefits?

100,000 / 88 = 1136.36 Per Person

Hilton’s reservation services the taxes on each room pushed the final total to $227.87 per night.

Room - 227.87 * 4 = $911.48

Parking - 34 * 4 = $136

Internet - 12.95 * 4 = $51.80

Mileage - $269.28

Total Cost Per Person = $1368.56

Call it what you like but the majority of the over $100,000 amount goes directly to supporting private companies. It is not like the 88 people who went to this meeting directly pocketed this money.

Hilton hotels are either owned by, managed by, or franchised to independent operators by Hilton Worldwide. Their parent company is The Blackstone Group L.P. (NYSE: BX) which is an American-based alternative asset management and financial services company that specializes in private equity, real estate, and credit and marketable alternative investment strategies, as well as financial advisory services, such as mergers and acquisitions (M&A), restructurings and reorganizations, and private placements.

How about doing more research and let's see who directly benefits because of this.

Who Really Benifits

Daniel, I think you’re missing the point here by miles and miles. Please, allow me to help you out. Teachers are being laid off; tax dollars (our tax dollars) are being spent, or should I say wasted on this nonsense, select ""teachers"" are being sent to a conference while students cannot read, write or otherwise comprehended. I think perhaps these teachers would be better served staying home and do what they are paid to do, but then again, hell, it's a wash I guess, students cannot read = teachers who can't teach.

It wasn't teachers that went!

It wasn't teachers that went! And it is not teachers that cannot teach. There are 100's of good teacher in BISD. The problem is an administration that is completely and totally out of control who only wants to try and appease the African American students/residents in the community. They spit in the face of every other race and could honestly care less about how the students are really doing. They don't do squat for the teachers except pressure them into making sure the kids past the TAKS test. And trust me, there is wide spread cheating going on with the TAKS test. If there isn't then it literally must contain no more than 3 letter words and simple addition. The teachers are required to have too many students in their rooms, the are (at least in the west end) pressured to by most of their own school supplies. Hell, they ration copy paper for crying out loud. I suppose it is so the black andministrators can give themselves fat raises and take expensive trips to racist conferences. Why do you think that the administrators and the black school board members are so concerned about control? Why do you think they want to call every opponent to them a racist? Why do you think they say that the Examiner is racist for posting the truth? They want the power! And they are elected, non-paid officials!! So why do they want the power? What power are we talking about? Is it just so they can let black kids go to whatever school they want? Is it just so they can hire a black superintendent and mainly black administrators? Or is it money too?

Damn Good

Damn good questions! A gang with corrupted morals, lacking any semblance of character. It's about narcissistic egotism ... just like Obama. The sad part is that they are short changing the very people they continuously and loudly proclaim they are serving so well. A gross disservice; the kids lose.

An on-line magazine with no education expertise, without having walked the hall of a single BISD school, and based upon what BISD's administration and PR department fed it, proclaims in an advertising- heavy promotional edition that BISD is one of the best 10 school districts in the country!

BISD knows it is false and/or misleading, but has banners printed with it, and Thomas and his gang of four cannot stop proclaiming the BS. It seems they believe that if they say something enough ... well, it must be true! They know they are able to fool a large percentage of the BISD stakeholders, and only a few blacks and whites are brave enough to speak up -- "Look, the emperor has no cloths!"



Who benefits?

Who benefits? How about who loses? The BISD, BISD teachers, BISD students and BISD taxpayers lose. They lose $100,000 which would have been better spent on so many other things.

Well call it what you want,

Well call it what you want, but we just send 2 teacher salaries to another state for something that has no benefit to the Beaumont school kids. Distric policy states no funds fo out of state travel

What if there was

What if there was the(NAWSE}? National alliance of White Educators

What if it was NAwSE

Oh please, it wouldn't matter whether it was the black or white educators, that is a ridiculous amount of money to spend for a conference. I have worked in business for 40 years and there is absolutely no reason to send 88 people to a conference. A big waste of my tax dollars! It would be nice to use the money to give teachers what they need in able to teach their students. It isn't a black/white thing, it is common sense!

Exactly, it shouldn't matter.

Exactly, it shouldn't matter. His point is, do you think the school board and administrators would ok 88 people to attend the National Association of White School Educators (if there was such at thing) seminar?!! That is his point. The only reason this was allowed because it was a BLACK educators seminar, period!! The point it, it is hypocrisy. The blacks call racism at every turn but the truth is they are the racist ones. How can you not see that??!!! UGGGGHHHH!!!!!!

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