Marlin residents discuss potential district closure - KXXV Central Texas News Now

Marlin residents discuss potential district closure

MARLIN, TX (KXXV) -

The potential closing of the Marlin Independent School District has several residents concerned.

On Wednesday, residents attended a public meeting about the matter held by the Saved Our Schools volunteer organization. A group that focuses on making good schools a priority.

Attendees almost filled the Marlin ISD High School auditorium. One of the organizers told News Channel 25, there were 998 names listed on the sign up sheets at the event.

The Texas Education Agency has revoked Marlin ISD accreditation status for 2015-2016, ordering it to close on July 1. The district has had low academic ratings for four consecutive years.

At the meeting, everyone agreed they want the schools at Marlin ISD to remain open.

Several residents mentioned the importance of working together as a community and praying as they work to improve the district.

State Representative Kyle Kacal (R-College Station) and State Senator Brian Birdwell (R- Granbury) who attended the meeting told residents they have been working with the Texas Education Agency and the district after Marlin ISD received the letter of the potential closure. Both state lawmakers said they will continue to support their efforts to keep the district open.

Marlin ISD Superintendent Dr. Michael Seabolt told residents for the past 10 years he has been taking over failing schools and districts. He said he was able to turn those around and it would not be any different at Marlin ISD.

According to Seabolt, he has implemented changes to the structure of the classroom since the beginning of the school year.

He explained to parents the elementary and middle schools have not met standards in several years with only 35 to 40 percent of the students passing standardized tests.

The crowd voiced their disagreement after Marlin ISD Superintendent placed the blame on teachers.

"I do not blame the parents of Marlin ISD. I don't blame the students of Marlin ISD for the performance of this district,” said Seabolt. “It is our job as educators to teach our children. We didn’t do an adequate job before but we are now.”

He asked the parents and community to support the teachers while they work to make the district better.

Several residents disagreed with teachers not doing enough and some even thanked them for their hard work.

Even though the meeting drew a large crowd, some residents are still concerned about the potential closure.

"Solutions fix problems not pointing fingers not talking about the problem. Tonight, i feel it was a huddle. When you put together a huddle you're supposed to come out with a play. What's the purpose of the huddle, of the solution if you're not going to come with a play, with a solution on what we are going to do,” said Rev. George “Slugger” Stricklin.

Stricklin said he would like to know what he can do to help the schools succeed.

“I’m at the point to where I want to know what I can do as a community leader, concerned citizen and parent to help the situation. To be part of the solution, not a part of the problem,” said Stricklin.

Marlin ISD has requested an informal review from the TEA, this will require the district to present an improvement plan to the Commissioner of Education. According to TEA, the commissioner will decide at that point whether to keep the 2015-2016 accreditation status as “Not Accredited-Revoked.”

If the commissioner keeps the accreditation as revoked, the district could appeal the decision with the State Office of Administrative Hearings, which would have the final say on the matter.

According to a TEA, if the district closes in July, TEA said Marlin ISD would be consolidated with a neighboring district. The commissioner of education would decide which district would absorb Marlin ISD and be in constant contact with the district officials. The district that takes Marlin ISD, would have the choice to use Marlin ISD’s facilities or send students to their facilities.

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