The Texas Education Agency would be making a mistake if it appoints a monitor or conservator for the La Marque Independent School District.

The move wouldn’t help the district now. Such a move might have helped a couple of years ago.

That’s when the school district was going through its reserves en route to insolvency and the school board seemed incapable of grasping the problem, much less addressing it.

The Daily News complained loudly about that problem for years.

The Texas Education Agency could have intervened. It did not.

Then, as the school district bottomed out financially, its leaders finally turned things around.

An interim superintendent came in with a double dose of strong financial medicine. In rough terms, the district’s budget shrank 20 percent in a year.

Even people in business, who frequently deride the financial discipline of those in government, have to salute that for what it was — a series of hard decisions about jobs, employees and spending.

The district emerged leaner and on sounder footing. Today, it is not in great shape, but the trends have been in the right direction. The district is not insolvent. We’d argue that its financial health has improved steadily for almost a year.

The state, after sitting on the sidelines for years, can’t finally decide now that it’s time to intervene without hurting its own credibility.

The La Marque school district has a new permanent superintendent who is engaging the community and rekindling some enthusiasm.

The state shouldn’t douse that fire.

It’s going to take to some time for the district to rebuild its academic reputation. The state should give it time.

Heber Taylor is editor of The Daily News. He can be reached at heber.taylor@galvnews.com or 409-683-5245.

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(8) comments

Robert Buckner

Nice thought Herber. In reality, if Terri Watkins is really that good of a superintendent then LMISD should have brought her on board a couple of years ago. The ISD board makeup is still pretty much the same as its been for a few years as we've watched the steady downfall of LMISD. The board is ultimately responsible for the state of LMISD. Your editorials are wishful thinking. Nice in content but lacking in reality. I really hope I'm wrong but I do not think so this time.

Chris Gimenez

I didn't give Taylor his nickname, "Hubris", without reason. He frequently writes opinions that have little or no factual basis behind anything he says. It seems to be an opinion that many editors around the country have-they believe themselves to be so much more intelligent than their readers and therefore they don't feel it necessary to provide the same vetting they want everyone else to provide.

MissionaryMan
Walter Manuel

I agree that it is too late for TEA to do anything at this point, however in all of my discussions with TEA it always came down to having to replace our school board members in order to change the direction in which the district was heading because th voters were the one who put these people in their seats even when they weren't qualified to run a lemonade stand.

TEA would do well to send in a monitor seeing how the district's operational and financial failures occurred under the governance of these elected school board members and therefore they are in no better position today to clean up their own mess at this point so someone else needs to do what they've already proven that they can't.

The only reason that the district wouldn't want a monitor coming in is because when they go through the books with a fine tooth comb, they are likely to find exactly where the financial trouble started, where the money went and who was responsible for signing the check.

They will also look at curriculum and student safety within the district finding that it is a HOT mess, something TEA already knows.

Gary Miller

At least one generation of LM ISD students were cheated of the education their parents paid for because the state let promisses dictate state actions.
More promisses and state inaction may cheat another generation of students.

The state should offer to convert all LM ISD schools to State charters.
The financial mess would be instantly solved. All local school taxes would be surplus and ripe for total repeal except for debt service.
Without Local school taxes to pay many parents could use the savings to get their children in even better private schools.
New residents and businesses would be attracted to LM by the lower tax burden.
LM could become the top city in Galveston county instead of one of the three worst cities in Texas.

MissionaryMan
Walter Manuel

I've been reminded that Mr. Burley was the first person to start making necessary cuts to the district, not Ann Dixon.

This goes as far back as even when Dr. Johnson was superintendent that he and then soon afterwards Mr. Burley saw that due to the districts financial situation the district needed to close/consolidate schools and cut some of their staff. Of course history reminds us of certain current school board members and the Mainland Ministerial Allaince and their supporters who fought Mr. Burley protesting him doing what the district was being forced to do.

After some members of the current school board completed their task of fulfulling their own personal agenda by getting rid of Mr. Burley were they forced to hire Ann Dixon to do what Mr. Burley attempted to do, but the board and their supporters wouldn't allow him.

We need to give credit where credit is deserved and it certainly goes to Mr. Burley for starting the process, not Ann Dixon.

We really should focus on what matters the most and that's where we are at today, but history will always remind us of exactly how we got here!

MissionaryMan
Walter Manuel

Ooops! That should have read, "their supporters who fought Mr. Burley protesting "against" him for doing what the district was being forced to do".

JBG JBG

I'd ordinarily agree with Mr. Taylor on this one, IF THAT LAST SOLVENCY PLAY, WHICH LMISD HAD PAID HELP IN MAKING AND PRESENTING TO THE STATE HAD PASSED! We all know it did not!
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So for me, this is what broke the camel's back! It is time, if there ever was time for a change, it is now!!! How many times show a board hire paid help, EXPERTS, paying them EXPERT money, to make and present a solvency plan just to have the state, turn it down?
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Come on now!!!! yall working me to hard on this! It is time for a change,...apologies to Ms. Watkins, and no real reflection on her,...but it was time to make a change!
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Mr. Taylor was right about one thing, the state should have acted years ago, but BETTER LATE THAN NEVER! The damage done in the time they should have acted but did not, can not be minimized nor negated! It is what it is!

JBG JBG

corrections to last post,... how many times should a board hire paid help....not how many times "show"..... sorry...

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