BASTROP (KXAN) - Bastrop residents saw the need to overcome a deep divide earlier this year.
Tuesday night the Bastrop ISD took heat again over its plan to improve diversity in the district.
The outrage boiled over back in February - when a Middle School principal asked only African American students to meet with her to discuss performance on TAKS tests.
The school board asked an independent third party Austin attorney to develop a diversity plan for the district.
In November, board member John Eaton, made changes to the plan that sparked more anger and were ultimately overruled Tuesday night.
"I believe the motion he made was racial in tone and in act, and there is no room for that kind of behavior in public discourse," said Eaton.
Steve Miller, a Bastrop ISD parent, has fought tirelessly for a diversity plan in the district.
Before it could be approved though, he says school board member John Eaton tried to change the racial make up of the committee that would implement it.
"The net effect of the amendment was to strip all the African Americans off the diversity plan and replace them with two of their own choosing. So, the community that pushed for the diversity plan doesn't even have representatives on it," said Miller.
Eaton on the other hand says his suggested changes to the diversity plan would better address long term goals - by not focusing so much on hiring minority teachers and instead fix the academic and economic gap in the school district.
"My intent is spend our precious resources we have in these very tough economic times to educate absolutely every one of our kids, and if we can't spend some money we need to spend some money on getting kids in school districts, that are struggling, to be successful. If we can't get them over that hump, academically, what's their life going to be like," said Eaton.
Although Eaton admits he did not consult with the attorney who drew up the diversity plan before making his amendments, he says his suggestions were based on conversations he had with that attorney.
"I believe that Eaton and the board reneged on the contract that it had with the people to bring positive change to the community," said Eaton.
Still, community outcry led board member Glen Peterson to suggest the amendment was a mistake and should be recalled. The board then moved forward to vote on the original diversity plan in January.
"I am so ready to move past this, not just in my area, but just in the world. We can come together and do what we need to do as a human race and stop looking at color and ethnicity so much," said Bastrop ISD President Ty McDonald.
As for the official vote on the diversity plan it is expected to take place on January 17th.
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