Woman seeks TRO over closed BISD meeting

Kelly Holleran Jun. 11, 2012, 4:22pm

A Beaumont woman claims the Beaumont Independent School District is violating Texas law by failing to provide an explanation about a closed meeting that is not open to the public.

Donna Forgas filed an application for a temporary restraining order May 30 in Jefferson County District Court against Beaumont Independent School District.

In her complaint, Forgas alleges the school district had planned a closed session following a public meeting scheduled for May 31. No public figures are allowed to attend closed sessions.

However, in announcing plans for the closed session, the school district failed to specify a subject of the meeting. It states only that "personnel recommendations" will be discussed, according to the complaint.

"The executive session is therefore improperly noticed, and would be unlawful," the suit states. "Moreover, a trustee's participation at that meeting would likely constitute a criminal offense."

Forgas says that Texas law encourages meetings that are open to the public.

"Citizens are 'entitled not only to know what government decides but to observe how and why every decision is reached," the complaint says.

In her complaint, Forgas seeks an injunction that prevents the Beaumont Independent School District from providing notices that violate the Texas Open Meetings Act. She also seeks a declaratory judgment that the executive session was defective. She seeks repayment of her court costs, attorneys' fees and other relief the court deems just.

Michael D. Getz of Beaumont and David Vann De Cordova Jr. of Beaumont will be representing her.

Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd District Court, has been assigned to the case.

Case No. E192-511

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