BEAUMONT - By Megan Dillard - Calvin Walker will continue to do electrical work for BISD.
Tonight the board of trustees voted to renew Walker's contract for the 2012/2013 school year.
It was a 4-2 vote and the tension in the room was thick. Four board members voted to renew Calvin Walker's contract, two voted against renewing it.
51-year-old Walker pleaded guilty earlier this month to a federal tax violation.
Prosecutors had accused the electrician of overcharging BISD by millions of dollars.
Those charges were dropped as part of Walker's plea deal.
The government seized $3.2 million from Walker.
From that money, Walker's income tax and fines will be paid.
BISD could then request that the remainder of the money be returned to the district if the board feels the district was overcharged.
Tonight's issue was two-fold.
One, renewing Walker's contract, and two whether the district would seek some of the money the government seized from Walker.
We spoke with one board member who was against the contract renewal.
Before the meeting, Mike Neil said he doesn't understand why the administration even recommended Walker's contract be renewed.
Neil says they have all the proof they need as trustees to decide they shouldn't be doing business with him anymore.
This proof included a document from the Justice Department stating that Walker admitted to altering a quote to look like an invoice.
"In our situation it doesn't have to be charges, it doesn't have to be 12 people agreeing with you. We just have to make the right financial decisions for the district and we feel like with what we've received from the attorneys, that information, I think there's plenty evidence, plenty on paper why we shouldn't be doing it. I think it speaks to character, it speaks to integrity, it speaks to morals, there's a lot of things that it speaks to. I think we need to put everything behind us and move on and unfortunately, I don't think the majority of the board feels the same way."
We spoke with Board President Woodrow Reese after the board made it's decision.
He feels the trustees made the right decision.
"37 charges were dropped and if it would've been fraud, then they should've picked up the fraud charge and taken him back to court. But the federal courts who I respect, the judge and the attorneys, I respect them. That's our system in america. It's not for me to decide the guilt or innocence of anyone. It's mind boggling that they dropped all the counts and they didn't charge him with fraud, but everybody's saying he frauded. I don't determine what he signed, I don't know what he signed. I'm waiting on the judge's decision, who has the final say in this matter. The judge may even say, whatever he may say, he may say the district gets some funds or whatever, I don't know."
One board member, Tom Neild, was not at tonight's meeting.
About a dozen people from the public addressed the board before it voted.
One of the board's frequent critics, Mike Getz, who happens to be a Beaumont city councilman, said to the board, "If you vote to renew his contract based on his admissions and past performance, then the only reason you were doing so is because he is black, which is making you a racist."
Only one person who addressed the board was in favor of renewing Walker's contract.
Once the decision was made, about one-third of the crowd got up and left.
There was also a line of protestors that stood against the back wall, holding signs that voiced their opinions against Calvin Walker.
Trustees also named Randall Maxwell as the new principal at West Brook High School.
He was the principal at Vincent Middle School.
The Beaumont School Board voted 4-2 to extend the contract of school district electrician Calvin Walker.
Walker has served as the district's electrical contractor since 2006.
Earlier this month, as part of a plea bargain with the government, Walker pleaded guilty to failing to pay his income taxes in a timely manner.
He agreed to forfeit $3.2 million dollars paid to him by BISD that had been seized by federal agents during a raid on his home in 2010.
As part of the plea deal, a 37 count federal indictment that accused Walker of overcharging the district by million of dollars was dropped.
According to the government, among the invoices submitted to the district by Walker was an invoice in the amount of $382,975.32 which had been altered to reflect it was an invoice when in fact the document was a quote and not an actual purchase.
On July 17th, following the plea agreement in court, Walker's attorney Dick DeGuerin told KFDM, "Calvin Walker's problems with the federal government are over."
DeGuerin said the tax count did not include any allegations of fraud.
Trustees who voted in favor of extending the contract said they Walker's income tax violation was a personal matter between him and the government and that he had been cleared of the counts accusing him of overcharging the district.
Trustees Janice Brassard and Mike Neil voted against extending Walker's contract because they said he signed a legal document admitting he had altered an invoice submitted to the district.
Trustee Tom Neild did not attend Thursday night's meeting.
Also at the meeting trustees voted to name Randall Maxwell as Principal at West Brook High School.
Maxwell was the principal at Vincent Middle School.
Previous West Brook Principal Bill Daniels left to take a job with another school district.