Financial Corruption in Texas Schools

The following letter about financial corruption in Texas schools was sent in from David Bellowi:

This Thursday at 7PM, the Lumberton School Board will reveal that the School Administration had been hiding, and spent, several million dollars last year without the knowledge of the School Board. To put this into perspective, the LISD Budget was only about 30 million last year. Several million on top of that is a huge chunk of change. The Administration has acted as though practices such as these are no big deal because this is how it has been done for many years.

This is east Texas after all where old Democrat politicians have controlled the political landscape and have been doing what they want behind the scenes. In this instance, the LISD Administration has been applying for federal grants and taking and spending the money without informing the School Board of the grant money or having the School Board vote to spend the grant money. It is not that much of a surprise though because this is long time Democrat controlled east Texas politics at work and because the LISD Administration was also found recently to be lying to the auditor about debts LISD owed. The LISD Attorney had been receiving IOU’s from the Administration for some time. When the School Attorney needed the money he finally came out and asked for payment and that is when the School Board discovered the debts owed because the Administration had been lying to the Board, and the Auditors, about debts owed. This Thursday the School Board will reveal the Administration’s cover-up.

LISD School Board from left to right: Julie Walker, Gene Stewart, Dr. Ron Sims, Jeff Rhea, Mike Bayless, James Glenn, Kenny Burkhalter, Margaret Cruse

What is the point of all this? The point is that this situation in Lumberton is not unique. The fact is that the entire educational system is becoming corrupt. Money is being raised and spent all over the state with little or no accountability.  Education costs are 40% of the budget in Texas while the average education costs of the other States is only about 30%. Financial reform is needed in order to save money from being wasted and to make education better by focusing money on education and not so many side projects.

For example, just down the road from Lumberton is a city called Beaumont, TX. This place is a cesspool of waste. The city is just over 100,000 people and the superintendent of this medium sized city is very likely the highest paid public official in Texas. He receives a 360,000 base salary per year (plus extras) to run the School District. The waste does not end with his salary. The BISD passed a few hundred million dollar bond recently and the bond was voted on to pay for a long list of things, but then BISD tried to use the money to pay for something completely different. For instance, they tried to tear down an historic school using the bond money even though they had sold voters the bond on the premise that the school would not be torn down. A judge granted an injunction on using bond money to tear down the structurally sound historic school. Even worse, BISD is looking into building a hotel and convention center right by the new Educational Support Center (Football Stadium). The School District wants to use extra bond money and other taxpayer education funds to build a hotel and compete with private businesses? Something is wrong here. The people are being swindled, taxes are getting raised, and education is suffering.

Statewide, school administrators are currently attacking our Governor, Rick Perry, because he refused federal money for education due to the strings attached. Governor Perry did the right thing. Instead of blaming the Governor’s defending of our state’s educational sovereignty , the best use of our time is in cracking down on the waste in Texas Schools that is sucking up so much of the money we already have here in the State.

Local school districts should have freedom to determine their own education locally by an elected school board. I am in no way advocating for the state to make specific financial or educational decisions regarding local education. In fact, some of the reason that schools have money problems is also due to unfunded legislative mandates. So I am not advocating for the State to take educational decisions out of local control. What I am advocating for is reform that requires schools districts to spend their taxpayer money on EDUCATION and not so much on non-educational waste. Also, the local communities need to be protected from local political machines that hide the finances from the people and that deceive the people with tax increases from shady bonds elections.

Here are some ideas:

  1. When the people of a School District vote to raise taxes for a bond, that bond money needs to be spent on exactly what the people voted on and if there are major changes in how the funds are to be spent then there needs to be a new vote. Leftover bond money should be used to pay down the bond debt and not spent just because you have it extra. 
  2. School Administrators should not so easily be able to get grants for the school without the knowledge of the school board members who are elected to control the budget. 
  3. School Districts, especially in this tight economical setting, should spend money on education and not so much on completely off the wall, non-educational things like building a hotel. School Districts should especially not be able to create a non-educational business that competes with hard working private businesses

I am not sure how much of this can be done on a legislative level, but certainly the people should know about this so, at the very least, they can take action themselves through voting. Beaumont is starting to see a change already. The people of Beaumont have woken up and recently did a petition to change the way the school board is elected so they can crack down on this taxpayer fraud. It is interesting to know that the wake up of the people and the crackdown on the government waste coincides with these old democrat counties turning republican and bringing in new conservative leadership. Jefferson County, Beaumont, TX, recently elected their first county wide Republicans in nearly 150 years right at the same time that the people are waking up to the BISD taxpayer waste.

Hardin County, Lumberton, TX, just had many new Conservative Republicans elected to county offices and also to the School Board, and many of the old Democrats are switching over to the Republican Side. This switch happened right at the same time that Lumberton voters started waking up to educational waste and they just rejected an unnecessary 30 million School Bond. Like Beaumont, Hardin County is also starting to wake up to the waste in their good old boy, decades long Democrat controlled county. So as People wake up to the fraud and waste of the Government, these very same people start voting Republicans into office to clean up the mess that the old democrats left….. interesting how that goes hand in hand.

iMy name is David Bellow. I am an Army National Guardsman and a State Republican Executive Committeeman. I was born in Beaumont, TX and was raised, and currently live, in Lumberton, Texas (Hardin County). Like most residents in east Texas, I have had to endure watching the good old boy Democrat controlled county’s officials do nothing as public money has been wasted and misused. This damaging practice has been most evident in the irresponsible spending of progressive administrators in our Texas school systems.



Make sure to check out the comments on Facebook.

David Bellow has his basic facts wrong in his statement.
(Understand, I opposed the destruction of historic South Park High School building, also.
In addition, I'm a Democrat and voted AGAINST the recent BISD bond issue, which passed.)
It is NOT true that all people elected in these 2 counties have been Democrats for the past 150 years.
In both counties, Republicans have been elected for county-wide offices in recent years.
In Jefferson County, for example, Commissioner Jimmy Cokinos, a Republican, was elected and served for a number of years in the 1990s.
Further, all school board elections are NON-partisan.
Mr. Bellow doesn't know whether any of the school board members of either Lumberton or Beaumont Independent School Districts are supporters of either national or any political party.
He may have a legitimate point, but he ought to climb down from his high perch on his partisan Trojan horse to make it.

Judy in Big have missed the entire point of the article.  It is not whether Democrats or Republicans are mispending is that these funds are being misspent.  That is what we need to be concerned with.  Part affiliation does not matter....the fraud, waste and abuse is what matters.

a county wide elected official is someone elected by the entire county. A county commissioner is elected by one precinct out of 4 in the county. so there have been republicans elected a couple times in recent history to public office in Jefferson County, but never in over 100 years has a republican been elected to a county wide office by the entire county because it has been controlled by democrats. And you are missing the point of the story. this corruption is there and it has been going on for years and it all started with the good friend networks of the democrat politicians that have ruled east Texas.

Lumberton Observer,

thanks for posting those great news articles about David Bellow. I do not undertand how you think those articles makes Bellow look bad?

1) one article is a liberal blogger bashing Bellow for filing a lawsuit to stop Obamacare. I say thanks to Bellow for standing up and fighting back. Only a liberal would think it was bad that Bellow filed a lawsuit against obamacare.

2) A second article you posted was a story about how Bellow might have been behind an ethics complaint filed against the Mayot of Lumberton. Did you know that the Mayor was found guilty and FINED because of that ethics complaint. Only a liberal reporter would write a story about who filed the complaint instead of reporting that the complaint was true and the Mayor was FOUND GUILTY! If Bellow did write the complaint and got someone else to file it who cares. The complaint was true and the mayor was fined. 

3) A third link you posted was a link to the liberal blogger who was bashing Bellow for standing up against waste spending in Hardin County. How does that make Bellow look bad? Did you read what Bellow said in that article? Bellow was saying that the county would be in the hole $500,000 this year even though they have TWICE the amount of revenue from 10 years ago. Obvuilsly something is wrong if a county's revenue doubles and they will be in the hole next year. Bellow also pointed out that the 500,000 the county would be short was exactly the same amount that the county WASTED on a replica dome at the courthouse. Not a real dome over the courthouse but a model of a real dome that sits beside the courthouse. Wht is the county spending tax money on that!? Bellow also pointed out that the County Judge would not take a $7,500 raise that year. That is great except what is the county judge who makes less than 100,000 getting a $7,500 raise in one year for!?

4) The only other link you posted was a link to the beaumont enterprise article about what Lumberton ISD had to say in response to Bellow's accusation that the Administration was hiding money. Of course the School denies the allegations. Did you think the school would say the allegations were true!? Follow the money and you will see that Bellow was right. Why else would the School Board pay $40,000 to an outside auditor to do a full internal investigation!? Obviously they thought something was fishy too! The won't admist it though because schools do not like bad press.

So THANKS AGAIN for the great articles that show Bellow fighting local corruption. Only a liberal would think Bellow was bad for exposing the unethical behavior of the mayor and for filing a lawsuit against Obamacare and for exposing waste spending in the county.

"My name is Gerry L. Dickert and I am the editor of The Silsbee Bee. 
As far as I am personally concerned, Bellow is a joke.
He has no credibility thanks to his many failed attempts at ridding Lumberton of the evils of alcohol. He lost even more credibility during the March Primary election when his campaign staff flat-out lied during a last-minute calling campaign in the county. I’m for sure Jerry Jordan with The Examiner still has THAT recording.
Bellow certainly has no credibility with The Silsbee Bee … and apparently not any of the responsible media outlets in Southeast Texas. Search around and see how many media types actually acknowledged Bellow’s complaint.
Now Bellow likes to add his newest title after his name … that of Texas State Republican Executive Committeeman.
Does that mean that the State Republican Committee is in support of this complaint or is Bellow just bellowing again without the knowledge of those he claims to represent?
Since he is a STATE representative, does that not mean he is representing Hardin County’s Republican Party? Does that mean the county Republicans are in part filing this complaint, led by David Bellow … his superhero cape blowing gracefully in the wind as the American flag flitters in the background?  Bellow has certainly squandered any opportunity to set the situation straight … as usual."

Lumberton Observer,

thanks for another link showing Bellow standing up against corruption in Lumberton! I cannot possibly think of a reason why you would think Bellow is bad for filing a complaint against a guy who broke the law! The Lumberton Justice of the Peace tried to illegally coerce his opponent to drop out of the race because the old Justice of the Peace did not want to stop getting his paycheck. Even though he is like 70 years old! He went to his opponets job and tried to get him fired. Bellow filed a complaint against the guy for rigging the election. So how does that make Bellow look bad? I think it makes Bellow look great! He is fighting the good old boy politics in Hardin County!

It is interesting that you posted a comment by Gerry Dickert. He is a liberal news reporter who hates Bellow. he hated Bellow when the PEOPLE voted against a bad school bond. You hated Bellow when the people voted to keep negative alcohol establishments out of Lumberton. you even hate that Bellow was ELECTED to the Republican Executive Committee by all of the Republican Delegates in SIXTEEN east Texas counties. Anyone can come up with attakcs against someone else. Liberals cannot back up what they say excpet to try to post a link from another liberal reporter who also hates Bellow and has not facts.

If you scroll down to the coments on the link you posted you will notice that Gerry Dickert ADMITS that he knew that the justice of the peace tried to get his opponent fired if he did not drop out of a race. How does a reporter know this info and not write about it in the paper. unless they want to cover it up??? Gerry Dickert is a liberal propagandist who hates Bellow. And you wonder why the Hardin County DA (Sheffield) did not file charges against his judge friend Butch Cummings? cause they are friends in the good old boy system!

Keep the good stories about Bellow coming!


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