The ongoing litigation in the Beaumont Independent School District trustee race is not about a racial divide, and it’s not black or white — it’s quite simply a legal strategy to maintain the status quo and maintain the trustees in their current seats. In the words of BISD hired gun Melody Chappell in her application to the DOJ voted on by the Board of Trustees seeking approval for the most recently drawn 7-0 map, the attorney wrote, “It is not expected that the redistricting changes will affect the electoral influence of racial minority groups.
But that all changed when it became clear trustees Terry Williams, Zenobia Bush, and Woodrow Reece would lose their seats because of their own failure to file by the March 1 deadline set by the same trustees when calling for a May 11 election. Now the board is spending thousands of dollars in legal fees to fight the implementation of the very map they had chosen just weeks ago.
The board majority fought tooth and nail to overcome the will of the voters, who had chosen to go with a board made up of five single-member districts with two at-large representatives (5-2). The board majority wanted seven single-member districts. And not just any seven districts — these seven districts, which further protect the incumbent majority.
This is the map they wanted. All they’re doing is protecting the seats of these three trustees. It is at minimum the spirit of the law that tax dollars be spent only for the district as a whole. Many lawyers were consulted and all agree that BISD to this point is probably within the law - but not within the spirit of the law. The only people that benefit from litigation are Reece, Williams and Bush, but certainly not the taxpayers footing the bill. What we ask and many of our readers have asked is this: Why are these trustees fighting so hard to maintain positions on a dysfunctional board, seats they’ll have an opportunity to win back at a later date? We believe that this particular majority has abused its power with favoritism and corruption to a point of desperation and cover-up. They’re scared of what we might find after they leave.
It is no secret that the first order of business for the three that have been deemed legally entitled to be on the ballot along with a new majority will be to order a forensic audit of the financial dealings of the district, to include bond expenditures. Should this legal maneuvering succeed and BISD is able to maintain status quo, every parent with children in BISD should demand TEA appoint a conservator and a new board that can serve for a maximum of two years.
If current trustees are found to have served honorably for the past decade, they’ll certainly win their seats back given the cozy districts that have been created for them. But should we discover they have not acted honorably — and we WILL learn the truth — the very Department of Justice that has up to this point protected the status quo will likely spring into action and deliver to the voters of Beaumont the justice they have thus far been denied.