TEA in town to investigate BISD

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The Texas Education Agency arrived in town Monday, Oct. 28, as part of an on-site investigation into multiple allegations of fraud, fund mismanagement, and civil rights violations at the Beaumont Independent School District.

“Selection of local education agencies (LEAs) for on-site program effectiveness reviews is based on a review of Performance-Based Monitoring Analysis System (PBMAS) results, residential facility (RF) tracker data analysis, and longitudinal student performance and program effectiveness data,” an Oct. 10 investigation announcement stated. “On-site monitoring is designed to examine the origins of continuing low performance and program effectiveness concerns, and identify systemic concerns that may be impacting student performance.

“The Beaumont ISD was selected for an on-site review due to the identification of substantial, imminent, or ongoing risks across programs, as reflected in current and/or longitudinal LEA data.

“Additionally, while conducting the review, the team will investigate allegations received in complaints from parents and staff. The investigation will center on the Minnie Rogers Juvenile Justice Alternative Program. As part of its ongoing investigation, members of the special investigation team will also conduct investigative activities pertaining to the matters outlined in the June 14, 2013, notice. The TEA on-site team will conduct interviews and focus group discussions with LEA staff and stakeholders, review records, conduct additional field work regarding the development and implementation of the improvement and corrective action plans associated with these interventions, and will review data related to plan implementation.”

TEA communication director Gene Acuña said that the on-site investigative team consists of 9 investigators, more than any other investigation team has comprised to his knowledge. Still, according to him, the investigation may or may not illicit the results whistleblowers hope for.

“Let’s let the process play out before we start talking about what can or cannot be done with BISD,” he said. “TEA will issue preliminary reports … once we have completed a thorough and impartial investigation.”