Beaumont Enterprise Editorial: BISD superintendent search must be open, list all finalists

Editorial Staff
Beaumont Enterprise
Originally published Nov. 6, 2014

Many school districts in Texas will be looking for a new superintendent in the near future, and it goes without saying that all of these searches should be fully transparent. Nowhere, however, is that more important than in the Beaumont ISD.

This is a school district that has undergone the ultimate act of state takeover. The new board of managers is putting it back together brick by brick, and the hiring of the next superintendent will be one of its most important tasks.

The managers began the long search for a new leader with a workshop meeting Wednesday. They’ve hit the right note in almost every major decision they’ve made, and that momentum must continue with this one.

The BISD needs the best applicants for the job, whether they come from within the county or across the country. That means local candidates can be considered, but given all the turmoil in the district, a fresh face probably would present the best option.

The managers have promised openness in all of their duties, and that certainly applies here. It also rules out the “lone finalist” dodge that many school boards have taken refuge in.

State law requires trustees to name all finalists at least 21 days before a superintendent is hired to ensure that patrons know who was being considered.

But many boards get around this reasonable requirement by naming only a single “finalist” and then formally hiring him or her 21 days later. That violates the spirit of the law because other applicants were actual finalists but never identified.

It’s worth noting that BISD residents found out about the application by former superintendent Timothy Chargois to work for a school district in Detroit. The same principle of disclosure must apply to his successor here.

Taxpayers need to have full confidence in the final choice and believe that the best man or woman was hired. There’s only one way to ensure that – with a completely transparent process from start to finish.