LA MARQUE — In a letter to parents on Friday, school district officials pledged to make changes to improve the district’s accreditation status.

Last week, the Texas Education Agency told La Marque school officials that its accreditation was on probation and that if things don’t improve by next year, the district could lose its accreditation.

This week the state named Carlos Price, a former La Marque assistant superintendent, as conservator to guide the district out of its financial and academic woes.

The probation status came after three straight years of poor performance in either financial or academic rankings.

For the 2010-2011 school year, the district was found academically unacceptable. That was followed by a substandard financial rating in for the 2011-2012 school year. 

For the 2012-2013 school year, the state found that the district failed to meet standards academically.

Along the way, the state ordered the La Marque district to submit a financial solvency plan. Each time the district submitted a plan, the state rejected it and asked for a new plan.

The latest solvency plan is at the TEA and is under review, an education agency spokeswoman said.

For one of the district’s most ardent critics, the state’s move was welcome news.

“I think it is an excellent idea,” Walter Manuel said. “(La Marque ISD) is not headed in the right direction. The school board wants everyone to believe it’s fine, but the reports to the TEA say otherwise.”

School board President Nakisha Paul complained that the state hasn’t given new Superintendent Terri Watkins time to institute the required changes. 

Some of those measures were outlined in the letter sent to parents on Friday.

The district plans to beef up its efforts to find students that aren’t in school and get them to class and to have weekly meetings to monitor student progress. Outside professional service companies have been hired to assist on each campus.

The district noted that it is following its financial solvency plan, even though the state has yet to approve that plan.

La Marque has also brought in financial consultants to monitor all of the district’s expenditures, according to the letter.

La Marque High School junior Kasey Faour isn’t so sure much has changed.

“Honestly, every thing seems to be getting worse,” Faour said. “(Any changes) haven’t made a difference. We have good teachers — don’t get me wrong. I’ve learned a lot there, but it seems (campus administrators) don’t care.”

Her father supports her review.

“I hope everything works out,” John Paul Faour, a La Marque High School graduate, said. “There’s been a lot going on, and I just want it fixed.

“I know we have a new superintendent (who) came in to this mess. It’s been a mess for a while, so for me, as a parent, if the state has to step in, I say let’s get this fixed and move on.”

That was the message Paul and Watkins had for about 100 district staffers who attended a pre-spring break meeting Thursday.

Paul called on staff to “work just a little bit harder” in an effort to get the district out from under the state’s watch.

It may take a community effort as well.  The Rev. D.N. Benford, a community activist, pledged his support.

“We can’t even think about failure,” Benford said. “It’s just got to be done. Our job is to first of all make the community understand that we need to join the effort (to help the district improve).”

Benford said he was concerned that the appointment of a conservator at a time when Watkins was just starting to make changes might send the wrong signal to some that all is lost.

“I worry that it may intimidate (the board) and the community,” he said. “I don’t know his full role, but our role is to support (Watkins) and the board in making these changes.”

Manuel said Watkins deserves time, but he is less trusting of the board.

“We’ve had these school board members for a long time,” he said. “Everyone is being hoodwinked by this school board into believing we are headed in the right direction.

“At the end of the day it’s the students who are the ones suffering because of decisions this current school board has made.”



Mainland Editor T.J. Aulds can be reached at 409-683-5334 or


(11) comments

Robert Buckner

Outside professional services have been brought in to assist each campus? Financial consultants have been hired? LMISD has brought in outside help to operate the schools, they shouldn't have a problem with an outside conservator coming in to assist. This school board couldn't operate a broom without outside professional help. They were told long ago if they would raise the academic ratings then enrollment would increase. Increased enrollment = more state funds. But rather than focusing on the job at hand, energies were wasted on personal agendas, pizza parties, renaming campuses, good news signs, gimmicks, and the like.
This board is completely incompetent. They've failed the students, taxpayers, and themselves.

Gary Miller


Don't ya think the way the board is elected has a lot to do with LM ISD failure?
The members not running for election campaign for those who are running.

All BOT positions should be up for replacement after any year school performence declined.

Paul Hyatt

Looks like the Eagles Nest is wanting to get involved once again.... That isn't good for the citizens of La Marque....

Walter Manuel

Your right Robert and Paul.

“I worry that it may intimidate (the board) and the community,” he said. “I don’t know his full role, but our role is to support (Watkins) and the board in making these changes.”

How dare Benford mention anything about "intimidation" when he and James Daniel's sought out these very people who are sitting on the current board in order to bully and fire people that they wanted to get rid of in order to hire their own friends back into the district.

“We can’t even think about failure,” Benford said. “It’s just got to be done. Our job is to first of all make the community understand that we need to join the effort (to help the district improve).”

Yeah, well we ALL see one of the very people that ya'll wholeheartedly supported on the LMISD board just getting out of jail yesterday and yet we're just supposed to turn a blind eye simply because a so-called ministerial allaince calls on the public to clean up THEIR mess that they created???

All of this groups efforts is exactly why we have the school board members today making such poor financial and academic decisions for our school district and children while having to hire a consultant for school improvement, a consultant for finances, a consultant for the superintendent, etc etc, etc.

Who actually deserves the big bucks that they are being paid to do the job that they ain't???


Benford needs to stay In the pulpit and feed this line of crap to his sheeples because NOONE'S buying what he's selling, not even for one HOT minute! [thumbdown]

Mike Meador

You have got to be kidding me! Was it the new superintendent, the president of the school board or $80,000 dollar administrators who said 'they've got to get the students out on the streets to come back into the schools?' WHAT? Do you really think this is going to raise your academic standards? You think this will keep the state from closing this district?
Aren't you people paying LaMarque school district taxes fed-up? What you need to do is have a meeting to decide how to get a better education by consolidation what's left for the best of those students remaining.
I was one of those who taught in the best district during the 70's-90's. Believe me, that ISN"T coming back!


I agree with Mr. Hyatt and Mr. Buckner! This whole setup stinks to high heaven, and it reeks of incompetency from front to back, up and down! This whole community ought to be in an uproar,AND ESPECIALLY THE AFRICAN-AMERICANS!
What about the MLK dream? You know, getting to the mountain top. The idea was when you got to the mountain top of INCLUSION, would function/produce as good or better than anyone else,...not to get up there and look like a bunch of misfits! Now, we have letters are going out to parents,..flat out lying about improvements and complete recovery!
I refer back to something Mr. Buckner said below, would seem that this present board is so incompetent, is HIRING a whole level of sacrificial consultants to come in and DO THE JOB IT WAS ELECTED TO DO! What kind of convoluted BS is that? That is called paying double for something which has so far ......not materialized!
I'm going to say a couple things which has really served me well in life:
1) Don't believe everything somebody tells you especially a so called politician or public servant. ( Even JESUS CHRIST said,... watch their fruit ). So, what kind of FRUIT has this board produced? Ahhhha...I could rest my case right here, but I won't!
2) A tiger does not change his stripes overnight,....there must be a transformation and from what I can see, this board is not interested in change, they are only interested in maintaining control over, and running this school district in the ground!
3) If this community is going to stand up for these kids, CANNOT STAND UP FOR THIS SCHOOL BOARD! This community cannot do both! A choice must be made! One of the students in this story said she thought the administrators at her school seemed as though they did not care, well that was because they have observed that the board members themselves are not up to it, and perform as though their goal is not to give kids here a quality education!
You stay on the bottom long enough and you begin to think you belong there, and this is my opinion concerning this board, an attitude like that is like ANTHRAX and CHOLERA, it spreads quickly to destroy! I've observed that, "GOOD ENOUGH FOR YOU" attitude all my life, and it is sic-ni-fying!!!!
It is enough to turn your stomach! If I was a kid attending LMISD and looked at how it is been operated now, what do you really.... think would flow through my mind?
Okay, this is the reason people are leaving this community! Some people are not astute enough to see it. They keep playing the fool. Then we have the Alliance saying that a conservator might intimidate the board and the community! This board has just about DESTROYED this school district and has done irreparable harm to countless LMISD students and that was all he had to say. Okay, there you have it!
This situation is out in the open, and it cannot be blamed on those people across the street! Those who are to blame must step up and own up! Who has ever heard of running a school district by consultant committee! Pay a bunch of consultants to come in and do work constituents elected you to do! OUTRAGEOUS!!!!

Walter Manuel

Bingo Cougargator!

Getting students on the streets to come back to school was what our previous LMISD police department help to curtail in the first place. Obviously we're now paying more for security in the district with less officers so they aren't keeping students from leaving school once they show and then want to leave.

Our old police department officers also helped during the Summer to go and look for LMISD students who had dropped out, transferred to another school. moved out of state etc etc in order to justify the decrease in their daily average attendance numbers, but with contracted security services I can only imagine that this isn't being done either.

I highly doubt that any other school district would keep an employee who wasn't capable of doing the job for which they are being paid, unlike LMISD who hire's outside help in order for 2 people to do the job that ordinarily it should only take one to do.

This is just one of the many poor business choices that these board members are making in order to keep their friends in a job while allowing them to pad their retirement fund. Until they start cleaning house and getting rid of the old and bringing in the new, their just spinning their wheels and wasting our tax dollars.

LMISD shouldn't count on students coming back any time soon and teachers are said to be already looking for jobs elsewhere, so soon our district will be run by contracted substitute teachers for the less than 2,200 students anticipated in our district next year and that's only IF they survive another year.

Only in LMISD can you do a pathetic job on the school board and be re-elected, be an under performing administrator and make 6 figures including having the help of a consultant helping you to do your job and lastly repeatedly trying to convince everyone that the district is headed in the right direction and begging district employees to fight and push on when everyone already knows just how the last chapter will end in this book!

RIP LMISD.....[sad]

Gary Miller

We will do better?
The same promise given generation after generation of LM ISD students. Usually with a claim they just need a little more money.
More education for less money is available.
Fire all ISD employees and hire Charter and private administrators to run LM's schools.
SCOTUS approved it and schools from Alabama to California who did it say it's better than they thought. A 20 percent improvement in graduations and grades the first year for half the cost.
Odd result?
Other ISD's near them started cutting costs and increasing teaching trying to keep their voters from doing it to them.

ole dad

Threaten to close all school sponsored sports programs might get them jumping.


That is a thought oledad, but I think it is high time for individuals, and groups as well to start saying what they mean, and doing what they say. In other words, more threats,... Just do it!
We are hearing enough of threats with no actions behind them coming out of DC to last a bag of minutes! Here is my concern, and I'm sorry, I just can't shake it. This is 2014, not 1914. The expectation is for these kids to get a quality education, and good tax money is being spent for that to happen. If that does not happen many of these kids could end up in crime or worse,.. prison! In LMISD, the people spending the tax money are not held accountable for their inability to function as good stewards or managers over the resources, they have been given! They are self is about the money, they way I see it!
They just keep getting elected over and over again! Now I got a question and it is open, to anyone. Do you think this would happen in FWISD? How about PISD? I'll do you one better,...we can take FWISD and PISD off the table, because We have a district much closer WHO WOULD NEVER PUT UP WITH THIS KIND OF BS, AND THAT IS TCISD! Think the constituents in the TCISD would put up with this kind of management? LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL
I have to laugh, because it is so pathetic I'd end up crying if I didn't! Somebody mentioned praying,..well in God's operations, it is a partnership type thing,...God mixes his strength with our weakness, and together, he get things done. In other words prayer is backed by faith and faith by corresponding actions, because FAITH without action/work is dead!
To make it short and sweet, we must do our part, and I have a problem with anyone thinking that GOD thinks we have done our part here with LMISD! I don't think so! When you cannot or will not send in an accurate plan after having HIRED EXPERT CONSULTANTS work on it,..then my faith in those organizers has failed. sorry!
It time for them to go or it is time to close this thing downnnnnnnnn!
Somebody told me long time ago:
"THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A MAN WHO CAN'T AND A MAN WHO WON'T!" They will both end up on the bottom!

ole dad

La Marque is driven by sports. Everyone's son thinks they're scholarship bound, but not for education, just a stepping stone to the pro's. No where in that process is education ever emphasized by the school district, unless they're in trouble, or the ever important parent. You can ask FSID and PISD, the focus was on education first then athletics. What you ended up with was some very intelligent students that just happened to carry that diligence over to performing as an athlete.

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