BEAUMONT - The Beaumont school board has voted to rescind the seven single-member district map trustees approved in February and move ahead with plans for the May 11 election.
During a special meeting Friday afternoon the board voted to use a map the Justice Department pre-cleared in 2001.
Board members Tom Neild and Mike Neil are concerned the board is breaking the law by using that map because they argue the most recent census numbers require redistricting.
BISD's attorney says at this point the 2001 map is the only one approved by the Justice Department.
BISD attorney Melody Chappell told the board it can't use map trustees approved in February because it was adopted only about 80 days before the election instead of the required 90 days.
The district says three board members are facing election in May. A Beaumont attorney is threatening to sue BISD because he says the law requires all seven seats to be put to a vote.
Attorneys for Marcelino Rodriguez, Donna Jean Forgas and Linda Marie Wiltz Gilmore say under the law, all seven board seats should be up for election May 11, not only the three seats the district says are up for a vote. Those seats are held by Gwen Ambres, Tom Neild and Janice Brassard.
The lawyers also argue BISD's plan to rescind a redistricting map approved in February and use a 2001 map violates the law. They're asking a court to order BISD to place all seven seats up for election.
A separate motion filed by Paul Jones, a BISD patron, seeks to delay the May 11 election until November. According to the motion, the election can't be held because the Justice Department hasn't pre-cleared a BISD redistricting map.
In a news release, Melody Chappell, the attorney for BISD who asked the court to deny the request filed by attorneys for the three board candidate, said "the action means BISD will continue to move forward with plans for a May 11 election. In responding to the Petition for a Writ of Mandamus filed by the three local residents concerning their proposed candidacy for the May 11 school board election, Chappell explained to the court that "the relators misled the court by failing to cite Texas Election Code Section 276.006 and BISD Board Policy BBB (local).…they cited 17 different sections from the Election Code in their petition. Surely, they saw Section 276.006 which was only three sections from the sections they cited." This section defines requirements when changing electoral boundaries. Also, Board Policy BBB (local) provides for the staggering of terms for trustee elections through at least 2019, Chappell added."