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Marlin ISD board suspends superintendent, launches investigation

Marlin Middle School
Posted at 9:32 PM, Jun 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-07 23:36:17-04

MARLIN, TX — A member of the state-appointed Marlin ISD school board of managers says the district needs a shakeup from top to bottom.

On Wednesday, the board started at the top suspending superintendent Dr. Michael Seabolt. They also ordered an investigation into his administration.

The move came suddenly, and raised a lot of questions.

"We're gonna have to hit the ground. This is gonna be a long job, a big job," said Eddie Ellis Jr.

Ellis is only in his second meeting as a Marlin ISD board member. He took a big step toward finishing the job he started just a week ago.

In his first-ever board meeting, he made a motion to fire Dr. Seabolt over the district's failing test scores. Scores, which more experienced school board members say, had began to show improvement.

Ellis says this state-selected board has two jobs.

"Leadership one, and the grades. That's what the board, and the school district have not been able to rise," Ellis said.

Former board members say the Texas Education Agency got involved with Marlin ISD schools four or five years ago, and took over with an appointed conservator a couple of years later.

Dr. Seabolt came aboard in 2015, and while some parents and employees didn't like his methods, board members say middle and high school scores were starting to improve. While at the same time, the TEA kept raising the bar.

Now, Ellis wants an investigation into every move Seabolt made, and fears having him around while it happens.

"We want to, you know, make sure everything is done above-board, and that he's not interfering with the investigation or doing anything to steer the investigation in his way," Ellis said.

Other board members called that ridiculous. They believe the conservator fed information to the TEA, and the TEA fed it's script to Ellis, to enact.

While Ellis didn't directly address that charge, one of his answers was made clear, his conversations with the TEA.

"I haven't been, that decision, that conversation hadn't come up yet," Ellis said.

Now, after staging his coup, Ellis wants a break away from TEA's threat to shut down the district to get results.

"Maybe they have pretty much made up their mind that they are not gonna close down the schools and give (the board) the opportunity to, enough years to right this thing," said Ellis.

And while Ellis claims affection for his hometown, others say his actions only add to the perception of constant drama in Marlin.

"Marlin's a great little ole' town. I think we have got some bad raps about a lot of things," said Ellis.