La Marque ISD will be closed and annexed by another school district, Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams’ spokesman Gene Acuna confirmed late Thursday.
Williams informed the La Marque school board Thursday afternoon of the decision in a letter addressed to Nakisha Paul, president of the Board of Trustees, and Superintendent Terri Watkins.
In his letter, Williams said a conservator would be assigned to the district, but did not confirm which district would absorb La Marque ISD. The decision will take effect July 1, 2016, according to the letter.
Paul did not return comments late Thursday.
The commissioner’s decision comes less than a month after he visited the school district — a first for Williams in his role as education commissioner.
Subpar performance on state-mandated standardized tests, along with similar ratings for aspects of its financial management, led to Williams’ decision to replace the school board with an appointment board of manages and replace Watkins, who announced her resignation Oct. 22.
Williams’ most recent decision to close the district and have another school district annex it comes almost eight months after he announced he would revoke the district’s accreditation and essentially shut down the troubled organization.
School district officials successfully lobbied Williams to give them one more chance to turn things around.
Williams agreed, marking the second time he had given La Marque another chance. Last year he announced he would appoint a conservator to monitor the district’s performance. But Watkins was able to convince Williams to hold off on that decision as well.
Williams agreed to set aside his decision to shut down the district if the school board agreed to an abatement agreement. He said he would review the district’s 2014-15 performance before rendering his final decision.
It was unclear what prompted Williams’ Thursday decision.
The apparent options before then had been for the the commissioner to follow though with his decision to replace Watkins and the board, or relent and allow the district to remain in local control.
Officials at Texas City ISD, which is geographically near La Marque, said they had not been informed about the commissioner’s decision and didn’t know whether their organization would be called on to annex the troubled district.