TEXAS CITY — La Marque residents convened Tuesday evening at Rising Star Missionary Baptist Church, 302 N. Oak St. 

Leaders from several area churches organized the meeting to answer questions the community had regarding the Texas Education Agency’s decision to remove La Marque’s school board and Superintendent Terri Watkins.

The agency’s commissioner, Michael Williams, confirmed the ruling Sept. 23. The resolution calls for a board of managers to govern the district.

“Our main concerns right now are just educating people,” the Rev. James E. Daniels said. Daniels is founder and chairman of the Eagles’ Nest Community Organization in Texas City. “We’re going to work with community leaders to show support for the board and superintendent in a passionate but dignified manner.”

The main contention Daniels and many at the meeting have is they believe Watkins and current school board members are suffering the consequences of past school district officials’ actions.

“Show me where the members of this sitting board are guilty of any of the wrongdoing that’s being assumed,” Daniels said.

Williams’ decision to abolish La Marque’s school board and superintendent came seven months after he declared he would revoke the district’s accreditation because of consecutive years of either poor academic or financial ratings.

The district received ‘Academically Unacceptable’ or ‘Improvement Required’ academic ratings in 2011, 2013, and 2014. It received a ‘Substandard Achievement’ for its financial ratings for the 2011-2012 school year.

District officials requested a review following Williams’ announcement. The Texas Education Agency agreed to abate the accreditation status decision in April.

One of the terms of the abatement agreement was that if the district received a preliminary 2014-2015 financial rating of ‘Substandard Achievement’ or a preliminary 2015 academic rating of ‘Improvement Required,’ a board of managers would be appointed to oversee the district. It also provided that Williams would anoint a new superintendent.

The district met its academic needs when it achieved a ‘Met Standard’ rating at the beginning of August, but it also received a ‘Substandard Achievement’ financial rating for the 2014-2015 school year, prompting Williams to follow through on the terms of the abatement agreement.

Watkins has served as superintendent since October 2013. Many at Tuesday’s meeting believe she shouldn’t be held accountable for the district’s performance before she came on.

“Ms. Watkins and the school board worked together to bring this district out of the dump,” Daniels said.

Daniels also noted that the school district appealed its “Substandard Achievement” financial rating at the beginning of September. A panel would review the appeal and issue a final rating in November, the agency said.

Many at Tuesday’s meeting pledged to maintain their support for Watkins and the embattled school board members. Other community members in attendance included Pastor D.N. Benford Sr. (Rising Star Missionary Baptist Church), Dr. Nathan Cunningham (President of the Mainland NAACP), Pastor Andrew Berry (Greater Barbour’s Chapel Baptist Church), and Pastor Dwyane Carpenter (Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church).

If it comes to it, a delegation from the community may travel to Austin to pitch their support for La Marque district officials to Williams in person, Daniels said.

“We have enough church vans. We can get up there.”

Contact reporter Joseph Baucum at 409-683-5237 or joseph.baucum@galvnews.com. Follow him on Twitter, @baucum_joseph.

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(17) comments

Walter Manuel

"Many at Tuesday’s meeting pledged to maintain their support for Watkins and the embattled school board members. Other community members in attendance included Pastor D.N. Benford Sr. (Rising Star Missionary Baptist Church), Dr. Nathan Cunningham (President of the Mainland NAACP), Pastor Andrew Berry (Greater Barbour’s Chapel Baptist Church), and Pastor Dwyane Carpenter (Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church)"
.
"If it comes to it, a delegation from the community may travel to Austin to pitch their support for La Marque district officials to Williams in person, Daniels said".

“We have enough church vans. We can get up there.”

Was this a "segregated" meeting intended for ALL community members or was it only for the African American community since it was held at a predominately African American church?

If these so called preachers want a school district of their own, then why don't they open up a school at one of the above mentioned churches and then they can hire this board that is on their way out along with Terri L. Watkins and they can run the school district however they like?

I'm sure many of those individuals who attended this meeting were the first one's to always complain about segregated schools, yet it looks like they are the very one's fighting the hardest to go back to it!

Preachers need to stay in the church pulpit and OUT of our schools. A CHANGE is going to come and it can't come fast enough! [beam]

Walter Manuel

"It received a ‘Substandard Achievement’ for its financial ratings for the 2011-2012 school year".

James Daniel's needs to tell everyone just how many of the current school members were on the board in 2011-2012 and then he might have a better argument.

The majority of this current LMISD was on the school board at that time.

Tell that to the TEA commissioner as well![whistling]

Walter Manuel

Ooops! "current school "board" members were on the board in 2011-2012".

George Croix

"The main contention Daniels and many at the meeting have is they believe Watkins and current school board members are suffering the consequences of past school district officials’ actions."

That sounds a LOT like the "It's Bush's fault" that we've been hearing for the last 81 months......

Mike Trube

Very good idea Walter. Let these churches start their own private schools. And those who don't care what kind of an education their kids will receive can send their kids there. But the rest of the parents deserve a school system where academics is a priority, to send their kids there. And that should be LMISD. They shouldn't be forced to send their kids to other districts. As a taxpayer, I am thoroughly disgusted in the manner in which my tax dollars are being spent. As I have said before, an apology is due to the taxpayers of this district.

Connie

Beta Sandberg

I never understood the references to the "Eagles Nest" in comments for other articles.

Leonard T. Payne

I'm with you Walter, the preachers need to stay in their respective churches and conduct church business.

Was this so called meeting published for all LMISD tax payers to attend, and held in the Tax Administration Building, or was it just for a chosen few.

Rev. Daniels, to get to Austin, you drive your little church bus West on Interstate 10 to Hwy 71, make a right and stay on Hwy 71 till you get to Austin.
Please let us know if you are able to change Mr. Williams mind.

Walter Manuel

LOL Mr. Payne now that's too funny...

Beta, the "Eagle's Nest" is nothing more than a joke of an organization that James Daniel's created on his own in order to start a group that represented his thoughts on what he thought remembering past LM Tigers, Eagle's, Cougars should look like.

The sooner James Daniel's catches up to the 21st century, the sooner we will ALL be better served.

Your right Connie.... All LMISD taxpayers should be mad as hades about how their tax dollars are being wasted by this current so-called school board and district leadership!

Willis Briggs

They just don't get it!!![sad]

Leonard T. Payne

Willis, it will never be the same as it was when we attended LMHS back in 57.

We had the finest school district in the nation.

Willis Briggs

Yeah, Leonard, those were some good days double dates and all. [smile]

Leonard T. Payne

Couldn't ditch my date back then, still have her, made her m lovely bride in 59.

sheryl tillson

It is time LMISD gets a new beginning with NEW folks especially on the Board. Otherwise nothing will change. The big question is why the GDN is not allowing comments on other stories regarding LMISD? Really make one wonder????

Mike Trube

Sheryl, all comments were removed because the truth was spoken and the paper didn't like it. They pick and choose who to support. They picked the wrong person. That's ok, in the end we all will have a chance to celebrate when the board and superintendent are removed.

Connie

sheryl tillson

It is a shame when free speech is not acknowledged. GDN should not be picking and choosing only reporting, but apparently they are unable to do this.

It has been evident over the last several years nothing but the truth has come from LMISD, I guess GDN is following suit.


I will be calling the business office on Monday and canceling my subscription.

Mike Trube

I fully understand your sentiments. The Guidry News always treated me fairly. With all this disgusting stuff going on, makes me want to move to someplace like Douglas Wyoming.

Connie

sheryl tillson

That sounds like a nice place to live. We know no one want to move to LaMarque and that won't change for a very long time! I was fortunate to grow up here when it was a wonderful small town with an outstanding school district. It is time to level it and start over.

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