Three BISD managers attend last meeting

BISD Superintendent John Frossard with Caballero, Simmons and Carroll

It was business as usual. No long good-byes. No bidding adieu with endless platitudes. But the Beaumont ISD Board of Managers lost three members as Board President Jimmy Simmons and members Lenny Caballero and Jack Carroll served for the last time in their official capacity during the district’s Wednesday, July 19, monthly meeting.

“With great sorrow,” Manager Joe Domino moved to accept the three members’ resignation – and that was that.

The group then voted to re-organize the board’s officers, with Joe Domino as president, A.B. Bernard as vice president, and Robert Turner as secretary, effective Aug. 1. Vernice Monroe is the only other current member of the board remaining.

July 13, the district confirmed that Simmons, Carroll and Caballero would be resigning effective at the end of the month. All three have served for three years, put in their position by then-Texas Commissioner of Education Michael Williams. The appointment was originally to be for a period of two years.

“It was an honor and privilege to serve this community and to contribute to the well-being of our students, teachers and employees,” Simmons offered in the district’s official announcement last week. “We believe BISD is financially stable, accountable to the citizens, and moving forthrightly in the direction everyone wants for our community.”

Commissioner Michael Morath sent in his expression of thanks for the members’ service.

“A major debt of gratitude is owed by the Beaumont community to Dr. Simmons, Mr. Caballero and Mr. Carroll,” Morath wrote. “Their skilled and tireless efforts, along with their commitment to integrity, honesty and transparency, have redirected BISD towards academic excellence. The district’s future is bright, due in no small part to the leadership of these board members.”

“It’s been a labor of love,” Simmons did say when given the floor in advance of the board officially accepting his resignation, and he took the opportunity to thank his fellow managers for their exceptional service.

Texas Education Agency spokesperson Gene Acuna stated that Morath would not be personally on site during the transition but there would be an announcement regarding the plan moving forward to replace board members prior to the BISD monthly meeting in August.

“We’re evaluating decisions,” Acuna said as to what BISD stakeholders could expect to see. According to Acuna, reports about having members of the elected Board of Trustees seated at this time are definitely not true as, “at this point, that process has not even been initiated.”

“It’s a legal process,” Acuna stressed, to seat elected Board of Trustees, and that is not an option on the table at this time. Should any elected member of the Board of Trustees be seated at this time, it would be as an appointed manager – not that the commissioner is bound to that option.

Additionally, Acuna said, the commissioner could reduce the number of managers seated to five. There has been no decision made as to a reduction, Acuna said, but it is a possibility on the table.

Another option open to the commissioner is that he could select board members from a pool of applicants who applied for the position prior to the May Board of Trustees Election.

“And there’s a third option,” Acuna said, which is selecting members from “some recommendations” made to the commissioner by outgoing board members and community stakeholders.

“We really haven’t decided anything yet,” Acuna said. “But we’ll let you know something soon.”