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TEA preliminary report critical of BISD financial practices; blames superintendent, board
BEAUMONT - KFDM News has obtained a copy of a Texas Education Agency preliminary report into Beaumont ISD financial compliance. The report is critical of the district in a number of areas.
Watch KFDM News and stay with kfdm.com for updates.
The TEA is investigating the district's financial compliance, complaints of cheating on tests, student attendance, special education and other areas. The TEA has already issued a preliminary report on special education. The others areas remain under investigation. The TEA has appointed a monitor over special education. It could take a number of actions in the other areas, including disbanding the board and appointing a conservator for the district.
According to the report, the TEA findings aren't all-inclusive and don't address all of the complaints because the agency says its investigators were denied the opportunity to speak with key staff members in the BISD administrative offices because these staff members took leave the day after investigators arrived on-site and remained absent throughout the period of the on-site visit. The TEA also states BISD executive management summoned BISD staff members who were to be interviewed by TEA investigators and interrogated them in a manner that inhibited cooperation with investigators. The preliminary report also states BISD financial records and information that were requested by investigators for the purposes of SAI frequently and repeatedly were submitted to TEA investigators incomplete, past submission deadlines, and in a haphazard manner that hindered the investigators' efforts to conduct the investigation.
*The preliminary report found the board failed to monitor the district's finances by ensuring that the superintendent, or his designee, implemented internal controls and procedures to protect the district's resources from fraud, waste and abuse.
*The preliminary report found the superintendent failed to manage the day-to-day operations of the district by not implementing internal controls and procedures to protect the district's resources from fraud, waste and abuse.
*The preliminary report found the superintendent failed to manage the day-to-day operations of the district by failing to ensure that adequate financial processes and controls were in place to achieve BISD's desired results.
*The preliminary report found the superintendent failed to manage the day-to-day operations of the district, which included ensuring compliance with and monitoring of the district's purchasing and procurement processes, procedures and activities.
*The preliminary report found BISD board member Mike Neil participated in a vote or decision on a matter involving a business entity in which the board member had a substantial interest. The matter had a special economic effect on the business. The TEA report indicates the board member voted against the contract, but should not have participated. Neil told KFDM News the report is incorrect because he says he abstained from voting on the contract.
*The preliminary report found the superintendent failed to manage the day-to-day operations of the district, which included implementing district policies that enforce and comply with conflict of interest disclosure laws.
*The preliminary report found the superintendent failed to manage the day-to-day operations of the district, which included ensuring that BISD record retention policies, procedures and schedules were in compliance with Texas State Library and Archives Commission requirements.
*The preliminary report found the superintendent failed to manage the day-to-day operations of the district, which included ensuring that records were kept on behalf of the school district.
*The preliminary report found no violations related to allegations of the misappropriation of $11 million from BISD's general fund balance for FY 2012.
The district has 10 days to respond to the report. District spokeswoman Nakisha Myles released this statement Friday afternoon in response to our request for comment about the preliminary report into financial compliance:
The Superintendent of Schools and the Board of Trustees of the Beaumont Independent School District have received the confidential preliminary investigatory report from the Texas Education Agency. Given the nature of the report, members of the Board of Trustees were asked to respect the confidentiality and refrain from releasing, discussing verbally or electronically transmitting any and all aspects of the report. The district is currently reviewing the report and will respond to the agency within ten business days. Upon review of the report and acceptance by the TEA, a final revision will then be issued. At that time, the report will be made public. The Beaumont Independent School District and the Texas Education Agency share the common vision of effective and efficient educational outcomes for all students. We will continue to work diligently towards this goal.
This is board member Mike Neil's response he emailed to BISD:
I am very disappointed to read this statement. It is completely untrue that the report we received was a confidential document. It was not marked confidential and the TEA confirmed that to me. The reason we all received it is because I requested that the TEA send to all trustees any communication that was addressed to us. I let them know that sending them to the district was only resulting in the district withholding these documents from us.
I released the document because the community has the right to know what is going on. The reason you do not want it out is because the report is very damning in its findings. Whatever the response, it is very important to me that the community know how uncooperative the district was with the investigation, despite your assurance that we would cooperate 100%.
The employees of BISD and the community deserve to know the truth about how this district is being run. One bit at a time they are finding out the truth.