Beaumont Independent School District
|Beaumont Independent School District|
|3395 Harrison Avenue|
ESC Region 5 
|Type||Independent school district|
|Grades||Pre-K through 12|
|Schools||28 (2017-18) |
|Students and staff|
|Students||19,228 (2016–17) |
|Teachers||1,442.88 (2009-10)  (on full-time equivalent (FTE) basis)|
|Student-teacher ratio||13.55 (2009-10) |
|Athletic conference||UIL Class 6A Football & Basketball; 5A Football and Basketball |
|TEA District Accountability Rating for 2011||Academically Acceptable|
Beaumont Independent School District is a U.S. public school district serving Beaumont in Southeast Texas. The district originated in the annexation of the former Beaumont ISD by the South Park Independent School District after its trustees voted in 1983 to dissolve it as the culmination of a struggle over desegregation of both districts. The original Beaumont ISD had previously absorbed the smaller French ISD.
As of February 2018, the district operates 28 schools: a Headstart center, a pre-kindergarten center, 14 elementary schools, 6 middle schools, 2 high schools, and 3 specialized and alternative learning centers. Since April 2014, it has been under direct state control, with a superintendent and board of managers appointed by the Texas Education Agency.
Original Beaumont ISD
The original Beaumont Independent School District, with Beaumont High School as its senior high school, was founded in 1883 and included the neighborhoods of downtown and the port area, and in 1948 absorbed the smaller French ISD on the north side, with French High School. It also operated a high school for black students, Charlton-Pollard High School. In 1975, as part of court-ordered desegregation of the district, this merged with Beaumont High School to form Beaumont-Charlton-Pollard High School.
South Park ISD
South Park Independent School District was founded in 1891 but was shaped by the aftermath of the discovery of oil at Spindletop in 1901; it took its name from the neighborhood at the south end of the city that grew up to house oil-field workers in the resulting boom. It operated South Park High School and came to include the expanding neighborhoods on the west side of Beaumont, where it opened Forest Park High School in the 1960s. It also had a high school for black students, Hebert High School.
Dissolution and resulting merger
South Park ISD included the wealthiest neighborhoods and could also draw on tax funds from the city's petrochemical plants, while Beaumont ISD was relatively poor. This disparity was exacerbated by white flight. Both school districts were the subject of integration efforts in the 1970s, but whereas the majority-black Beaumont ISD showed progress toward integration, the majority-white South Park ISD attracted less attention and both white parents and local federal judge Joe Fisher resisted integration. Redrawn attendance boundaries as mandated by the federal government in 1970 caused white families to abandon affected neighborhoods. A choice program did not result in desegregation, and the district board resisted an order to devise a plan to achieve it. As a result of rulings by federal district judge Robert Parker, that August students through eighth grade were assigned schools by means of a lottery using ping-pong balls, and effective with the 1982–1983 school year Hebert and Forest Park were merged to form a single integrated high school, West Brook Senior High School. (South Park High School was subsequently also merged into West Brook.)
In the aftermath of the court-ordered integration and after West Brook won the state football championship in its first year, South Park voters declined to re-elect the one black member of the school board, a Lamar University mathematics professor, and defeated a proposal to merge with the Beaumont ISD; black voters in that school district helped defeat the measure because the district had allowed them considerable autonomy in administering the segregated black schools. The board of Beaumont ISD then voted in August 1983 to dissolve their district, as a result of which it was attached to the South Park district to form the present Beaumont ISD. Lawsuits by blacks in both districts followed: by Beaumont ISD voters to nullify the dissolution because they now had no representation on the school board, and by South Park ISD voters against the school board, the Jefferson County Commissioners Court and the Beaumont City Council over lack of representation.
In the first school board vote after the merger, a 4–3 black majority was elected. After one term this became a 4–3 white majority, a situation that continued into the 1990s, when the court orders mandating desegregation expired and the board became split over continuing busing. The Texas Education Agency monitored the district for three years.
In 1994, as a result of continued white flight to particular neighborhoods, a black majority was again elected to the board, which introduced neighborhood school zoning with a promise to ensure access to superior schools for all students. The board appointed Carrol "Butch" Thomas, superintendent of the North Forest Independent School District in Houston, as the district's first black superintendent. He remained for 16 years, until 2012. Racially charged political struggles over representation on the school board continued during his tenure. During the 1980s and 1990s the city continued to consolidate high schools; the buildings of South Park High School and French High School both became middle schools, with French being merged with Beaumont-Charlton-Pollard, which was renamed Central High School.
The city was granted unitary status in 2007, indicating that the schools had been successfully desegregated; however, very few white students were enrolled in district schools. Also in 2007, voters passed a $389 million bond issue, which the school district used to renovate schools, build new ones, and build the Carrol A. "Butch" Thomas Educational Support Center, a stadium for the use of all district high schools that was named after Thomas after he announced his retirement. Some money from the bond issue could not be accounted for, and some district staff and suppliers were found to have misused district funds, including two employees who pleaded guilty to embezzling over $4 million.
Following several investigations including monitoring of testing after admissions from staff that students had received assistance including changes to answer sheets, the Texas Education Agency announced in April 2014 that it would take over the district. A conservator was appointed to manage the district and on July 14, 2014, Vern Butler, former interim superintendent of the El Paso Independent School District, was named interim superintendent at Beaumont, with a seven-member board of managers temporarily replacing the elected board of trustees. Among the managers is James M. Simmons, a former president of Lamar University. In April 2015 the board of managers named John Frossard, superintendent of the Wichita Falls Independent School District, as district superintendent. Elections for the board of trustees are to take place in 2017, with members of the board of managers being gradually replaced by elected trustees over three or more years.
As of the 2010-2011 school year, the appraised valuation of property in the district was $8,788,794,000. The maintenance tax rate was $0.104 and the bond tax rate was $0.027 per $100 of appraised valuation.
In the 2016–17 school year, the district operated the following schools:
Kendrick Perkins, Clifton J. Ozen High School, class of 2003
High Schools (Grades 9–12)
- West Brook Senior High School
- Beaumont United High School (opening at Ozen High school campus at beginning of 2018-2019 school year, merger of Ozen and Central High Schools)
Middle Schools (Grades 6–8)
- King Middle School
- Marshall Middle School
- Odom Academy
- Smith Middle School
- South Park Middle School
- Vincent Middle School
Elementary Schools (Grades PK/K–5)
- Amelia Elementary School
- Bingman Headstart Preschool
- Blanchette Elementary School
- Caldwood Elementary School
- Charlton-Pollard Elementary School
- Curtis Elementary School
- Dishman Elementary School
- Fehl-Price Elementary School
- Fletcher Elementary School
- Guess Elementary School
- Homer Elementary School
- Jones-Clark Elementary School
- Lucas Pre-K Center
- Martin Elementary School
- Pietzch-MacArthur Elementary School
- Regina Howell Elementary School
- Pathways Learning Center (alternative center)
- Paul Brown Educational Center
- Taylor Career Center (career training)
In addition to former high schools, the district formerly operated the following elementary and middle schools:
- Dunbar Elementary (now Charlton-Pollard Elementary School)
- Bingman Elementary School (merged with Blanchette Elementary School, building now Bingman PreK)
- Field Elementary (now BISD Annex Administration Building)
- French Elementary (now Dr. Mae Jones Clark Elementary School)
- Ogden Elementary (now Pathways Alternative School)
- Southerland Elementary (demolished)
- Austin Middle School (merged with Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School)
- Central Medical Magnet High School (Closed due to Hurricane Harvey Damage, merged with Clifton J. Ozen High School)
- Clifton J. Ozen High School (Renamed to Beaumont United High School, merged with Central High School to create Beaumont United High School)
- "Texas School Directory 2012" (PDF). Texas Education Agency. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
- "Search for Public School Districts – District Detail for Beaumont ISD". National Center for Education Statistics. Institute of Education Sciences. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
- "Fast Facts". Beaumont Independent School District. Retrieved November 14, 2016.
- "UIL Alignments". University Interscholastic League. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
- "Texas Accountability System District Ratings for 2004 through 2011". Texas Education Agency. Archived from the original on 2 July 2012. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
- "Our Schools". Beaumont ISD. Retrieved November 13, 2016.
- Deborah L. Morowski (2006). "Gaining a Foothold: Increased Secondary Schooling for African American Students in Texas 1930–1954". American Educational History Journal. 33 (2): 57.
- Carl L. Bankston III; Stephen J. Caldas (2015). "Command and Control Failures: Cases of Self-Defeating Policies". Controls and Choices: The Educational Marketplace and the Failure of School Desegregation. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield: 51. ISBN 9781475814682.
- Ellen Walker Rienstra; Judith Walker Linsley; Beaumont Chamber of Commerce (2003). Historic Beaumont: An Illustrated History. San Antonio, Texas: Historical Publication Network. p. 82. ISBN 9781893619289.
- Ray Asbury (1972). The South Park Story, 1891–1971 and the Founding of Lamar University, 1923–1941: A Documented 80 Year History. Beaumont, Texas: South Park Historical Committee. OCLC 696476. Quoted in Jane Hebert. "South Park Neighborhood & Schools". Save South Park. Archived from the original on January 6, 2009.
- Patrick Michels (November 14, 2014). "Race to the Bottom". The Texas Observer.
- Geoff Winningham (October 1983). "Football, Game of Life". Texas Monthly. pp. 154+.
- Winningham, p. 246.
- "Beaumont Independent School District: Management and Performance Review" (PDF). State of Texas, Legislative Budget Board. August 2013. p. 9 (pdf p. 18). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-05-16. Retrieved 2014-04-15.
- Zachary Roth (January 30, 2014) [October 17, 2013]. "Breaking black: The right-wing plot to split a school board". MSNBC.
- Bankston and Caldas, pp. 51–52, citing the Beaumont Enterprise: 4.8% of students in 2006–07 were white, but the city of Beaumont was 40% white according to the 2010 US Census.
- Brooke Crum (July 4, 2013). "TEA monitors to observe BISD summer testing". Beaumont Enterprise.
- Manuella Libardi (December 19, 2015). "Cheating suspicions at Jones-Clark detailed by BISD admins". Beaumont Enterprise.
- Amy Moore (April 14, 2014). "TEA taking over Beaumont ISD; Chargois out". Beaumont Enterprise.
- David Ingram (July 14, 2014). "BISD loses TEA takeover appeal; board of managers to replace elected officials". KBMT.
- "UPDATE: Reaction from two of the seven members of the Board of Managers". KBMT. July 14, 2014. Archived from the original on July 15, 2014.
- Dan Wallach (April 13, 2015). "BISD names new superintendent". Beaumont Enterprise.
- Liz Teitz (July 15, 2016). "Transition plan calls for some on BISD board to stay past 2017 election". Beaumont Enterprise.
- "Jefferson County Youth Academy". Jefferson County Sheriff's Office. Retrieved November 14, 2016.
- "Schools: Jefferson County Youth Academy". The Texas Tribune. 2015. Retrieved November 14, 2016.