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BISD board votes for Reduction in Force, closure of Austin Middle School; Monday vote expected on whether to appeal judge's ruling
BEAUMONT - The Beaumont school board engaged in heated debate Monday night before voting 4-2 with one abstention for a Reduction in Force that would cut more than 200 positions, including those of many teachers, and for a plan to close Austin Middle School and place the Paul Brown Alternative Center and Pathways School at that location.
The board met in Executive Session to discuss appealing a judge's decision denying the district a Temporary Injunction to block a state takeover. The board is expected to hold a special meeting Monday, June 30 to vote on whether to appeal, as well as decide whether to request a Record Review of the Education Commissioner's decision to replace trustees with a Board of Managers and replace the superintendent, Dr. Timothy Chargois. In the first Record Review, the TEA rejected the district's arguments against elevating the monitor, Fred Shafer, to conservator, and lowering the accreditation to Accredited-Probation.
Trustees Gwen Ambres, Zenobia Bush, Woodrow Reece and Janice Brassard voted for the RIF. Trustees Mike Neil and Tom Neild voted against the Reduction in Force. Board member Terry Williams abstained.
Superintendent Dr. Timothy Chargois says the cuts are needed to help reduce the budget by about $25 million dollars so the district doesn't operate under a shortfall during the next school year.
The board approved an amendment removing one position from the RIF because a judge has granted the employee a Temporary Restraining Order pending a possible lawsuit. The board didn't name the employee but KFDM has confirmed it's Ron Reynolds.
The board voted at about 8:45 p.m. and immediately went into executive session to discuss whether to appeal an Austin judge's decision. As KFDM News was first to report last Friday afternoon, the judge denied the district's request for a Temporary Injunction to block a state takeover by the Texas Education Agency, including the appointment of a board of managers to replace trustees and the appointment of a new superintendent to replace Dr. Timothy Chargois.
The meeting began at 6:30 p.m. with a number of speakers going to the podium, including students, and speaking out against the massive cuts.