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BISD History

BISD History

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Published by beaumontenterprise
A History of Beaumont ISD, from BISD's website, 10-07-2010
A History of Beaumont ISD, from BISD's website, 10-07-2010

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Published by: beaumontenterprise on Oct 07, 2010
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08/27/2013

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Historical Perspective
In
order
to
havea
better
understanding
of
what
has taken place
in
the
Beaumont
Independent School
District
during
the past
ten
years,
it
is
necessary
to
havesomehistorical perspective
of
the
past.This sectionwilladdress such
an
overview.The BeaumontIndependentSchool
District
wasestablished
in
1983
throughthemerger
of
the
former BeaumontSchool
District(founded
in
1883)
with
the
SouthPark PublicSchools
(founded
in
1891).
Theoriginalschool
districts
began
as
schoolswithin
the
township
of
Beaumont,and
as
the
city
expandedits boundaries, each
of
thetwo
districts
grew
throughnormalpopulation
growth
andby
incorporating
smaller
districts.
From
the
early beginnings
of
the
two
districts,
information
canbe
found
to
indicate
that
initially
the
wealth
of
the
city
was
located
in
the
originalBeaumont SchoolDistrict. But the discovery
of
oil
in
the
South Park areaanda
shift
in
residential
patterns
would
eventually
cause a
shift of
the
wealth and diverseconditionsbetween
the
two
districts.Beaumont
is
part
of
the
"GoldenTriangle"
in
SoutheastTexas.Foryears
the
economy
of
Beaumont wascontrolled
by
petrochemical giantsand oilrefineries. The
city
had a
port,
shipyards,lumber,pulpand paper mills,ricemills, and food processing plants. Theagriculturaleconomy
still
includesrice and livestOCk, along withsoybeans,blueberries, crawfish,wheat,corn, sorghumand grain.
As
the
city of
Beaumont grew(and each school
district
along with
it),
the
schoolswere builtarounda neighborhoodconcept and segregation
of
the
races existed.The
student
population peaks
of
the
two
districts
showed
the
oldBeaumontSchoolDistrict with
an
excess
of15,000
 
2.
students
and South Park Public Schools
with
over
12,000
students.The Beaumont
District
representedthe "old"moneyand South Park
represented"
oilfield
"/
blue-coliar workers.ThisImage wouldchange,
but
initial labels are
important
in
understanding
the
perceptions
that
grew
withinthetwo
districts.
In
the
late
1950's
and
1960
'
s,
severalthings began taking place
in
Beaumont. The Justice Department
was
summonedbecause
oftheintegration
movement
within each
of
the
districts,
andexpansionwithin
the
city
(home buildingand shoppingareas) began moving WestandNorth.
The
Beaumont School
District
implemented a
majority
to
minoritytransfer
system
to
improve integration,
transferred
teachers
to
integrate
faculties
;intensified the hiring
of
black
administrators;
andelectedblackrepresentation
on
the
schoolboard.TheSouth ParkSchoolsremained
with
a freedom
of
choice planfor
student attendance
along withbusingblack
students
at
the
fifth-grade
level
into
some
white
schools.Someteacherswere
transferred
and some black administrators were hired,
but
there
was
little
to
no black representation
on
the school board.New housing patterns began
to
develop more predominantly
in
the
West end
of
thecity
(SouthPark Schools) and the white population began
to
shift
West,creatinga noticeable difference
in
ethnicity
within
the
districts.
In
addition
to
the tax base
shift
for
homeowners
(Beaumont
Schoolshad many retired persons with frozen taxes),
the
tax
base
shifted
with
business and industry. As the two
districts
approachedthe
1980's,
. -
<.
the
following conditionsexisted:BeaumontSchool
District
hadademinishing taxbaseand numerous old buildings
in
need
of
repair.The
tax
rate was higher
 
In
an
effortto
meet
the needs and"keepup with the Joneses"(South Park Schools). There
was
a
shift
in
the
racial makeup
of
the
district
with
the
black population
ofstudents
becoming
the
majority.
South Park Schools had
an
excess
of
money. There werenew facilities, no portable buildings, and a
construction
fund
as
part
of
the
tax rate which collected
in
excess
of
$
2.5million per year. This allowedfora pay-as-you-go building
contingency
which was virtually unheard
of
anywhere else
in
Texas.Whitestudentsrepresented
70
percent
of
the studentpopulation.
3.
Each
district
experienced some problems between
white
and blackcommunities,
but
the South Park Schoolsexhibitedmuch more hostileblack
community attitudes toward the
schools.
In
1981,
after
manylawsuits and complaints from
the
black community, a federal
judge
issueda mandate
for the
South Park Schools -
an
attendance
plan for integrationpurposes based
on
a
random"
ping-pong" system. Neighborhood schoolswould house K-3 youngsters, then studentswoulddraw a ping-pong ball
to
determine which 4-5 school
they
would
attend.
The
4-5
school
determined
a feeder
pattern for
students, ensuring
integration
and equalbusing among races. The plan was
to
begin
in
the
1982-83
school year.Every
student
would participate
in
the
integratedsystem
unless he
moved
or
transferred
to
private
schools. "Anger" is a mild
term
to
describe
the
.
-,
white community; "vindicated"
might
comeclose
to
describing
the
blackcommunity.
Of
course,
the
former Beaumont School
District
was
left to
continue
with
the
majority
to
minority
transfer
plan.

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