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.

Contact Features Editor Kaitlin Schmidt at 409-683-​5236 or kaitlin.schmidt@galvnews.com.

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(26) comments

Rusty Schroeder

Sad day for Cougar History, but it could not go on like this. Wonder how they will spin this--congrats Walter, you held them accountable from day 1. TCISD will be the district I am told, no more Cougar Pride---GO Stings [beam]

Walter Manuel

Your right Rusty, LMISD couldn't keep going on any longer under it's current substandard academic and financial standards.

I'm sure that these people over at LMISD and their supporters thought that I would tire out a long time ago fighting them for everything that I wanted in order to publically expose them for who they really were, however they never knew me and my determination to take them down.

Their little game finally failed in LMISD, so now let's see if they try taking this same mess over to TCISD? I can assure them that It won't happen.....[wink]

Jack Cross

Sad day indeed, once a proud school district driven to this by those in charge. if it is TCISD,. it will be the best for both school districts. TCISD badly need room to expand. as its boundry stopped at 31 st leaving TCISD district with mostly small WW ll area homes.
LM will still have their schools and good leadership trustees. Look for high end community built around the TC golf course. This was in the Kofelt will, but the LMISD
was the killer. .

Walter Manuel

I hope this is a wake up call for some of the pathetic LM city council members who should have never been elected to office in the first place just like those on the LMISD school board.

Monday nights LM city council meeting just further proves that some of their members want to take care of their friends needs rather than doing what is in the best interest of the city for which they were entrusted by the voters to oversee.

I suppose only time will tell if history is repeating itsself in LM.... [yawn]

Mike Trube

It's really too bad this board could just not find it in their hearts to do the right thing and resign. Their egos were so huge, they refused to allow others to come in and save the district. There should be a wall of shame with their pictures properly displayed as the ones that brought down this once proud district down to be forever closed. They are the nails in the coffin of the district. Too bad they couldn't prove me wrong. The words I spoke last year are ringing true. I am really not happy the district is closing, but now the kids will have a better chance at getting the education they deserve. I wish them all the best.
And thanks Walter for being so diligent in keeping us in the know with all the facts and all the effort you put into this issue.

Connie Trube

Walter Manuel

Thank you Connie it was my duty to fight for the city of LM and our innocent children.

Your right, you never said anything that others in the community wasn't saying themselves regarding LMISD and it's board members. [whistling]

George Croix

Looks like that moldy donut and fundamentally changed dollar I've been betting with for nearly a year are finally being cashed in.....
Hate to see what was once upon a time a very fine school district fall.
Obviously, the correct answer to LMISD problems was not a political one....nor was it to be found in the dim past, real or imagined......

Mike Trube

Walter, you are so right about Monday nights council meeting. I was thoroughly disgusted. I still get calls from people asking for my help. I feel bad because there's nothing I can do.

George, what do you think were the school boards problem and why the district is being closed, if it's not political or otherwise? Just wondering.

Connie Trube

George Croix

Re-read it.
I said the correct answer to LMISD problems was not a political one....
PC......

Walter Manuel

LOL Mr. Croix!

I sure hate to see you having to give up your moldy donut and the dollar that you've been saving all of this time, but perhaps now you could start saving your pocket change in order to buy a "chicken dinner" so that the district can help raise some much needed money for LMISD when they have their final going away party for their board members next year.

Oh, by the way Connie.... thanks again for having kahuna's big enough to stand up for what you believe is right for everyone and for telling the emporer that he wasn't wearing any clothes. [whistling]

Good night everyone,,,,,[wink]

Stephen Stafford Sr

The long dark night is finally over. As a retired teacher, I have been following the story closely; I am so relieved for the students. Thank you all for putting kids first!
Kay

M. FARRIS

So so sad to hear about LaMarque ! 25 yrs ago, I went to COM to get my AA in Computer Science and met many young kids there. It was obvious which kids went to LaMarque schools, they were educated, knowledgable and very polite!! I could pick them out of a crowd!! What the hell happened in so short of a time?? RIP to the old wonderful town I used to know!!

Walter Manuel

LMISD went down fast when this current school board got elected in order to fulfill their own personal agenda's by firing Superintendent Ecomet Burley, eliminating the districts police department in order to get rid of Police Chief Timothy Fields all in an effort to rehire their friend Russel Washington. Period!

Now these current board members will forever be known in the city of LM/West TC as being the worst school board that LMISD ever had and is the reason that the school district was disbanded. I hope that they are all proud of their lack of accomplishments by putting their own personal agenda's first ahead of the students education and our community's growth and development.

M. Farris, the same thing stands today in that people know who the the students are that come from LMISD, however today it's not in a good way.

I asked in open records for the grades 3 thru 8 and Special Education Math scores for the LMISD 2014-2015 STAAR and End of Course Math scores and I received back from them a response indicating "50% 3 thru 8 and 25% Special Education". I contacted the administration building and told them that I wanted to see the "numbers" not percentages so I did not get what I asked for and was told, "Well your weren't specific enough in what you asked for, you needed to ask for EACH grade level in order to get that information". I was also told, "Well Mr. Manuel, you know those test scores didn't count this year" and I replied, "Yes, I know that, but nonetheless, the students took the test and were scored and there's many people in the community that want to know how they did and to compare it with their scores next year".

This lack of transparency is another reason why the LMISD school board room, as well as, the administration building needs to be cleaned out if our children ever have a chance of being properly educated again!

These losers have done enough damage to LMISD to last a lifetime, so they need to go ahead and hit the road making sure to take the Eagle's Nest and their supporters with them! [smile]

Mike Trube

Thanks Walter. I was just speaking my opinion in a private conversation. Too bad the low lifes of this city used it for their own gain. But I was proven right in the long run, and that's all that matters. It was called free speech, which apparently upset a few people. But I said it with the students in mind, and the lack of good judgement of the school board members. I am truly saddened that this group is responsible for bringing down one of the best rated school districts in the state of Texas. It's one thing to replace board members, and another for a whole district to be shut down forever! How sad! My heart is saddened for the former board members who tried to do the right thing but were outvoted, and eventually left the board.
But you are correct that the city council better be paying close attention. I've already received phone calls and citizens stopping by my house to tell me it is their opinion the city could be headed the same direction as the school district. There are some very unhappy taxpayers and property owners. And their attitude has nothing to do with the school district.....it's the city administration.

Connie

Cheryl Anders

I woke up this am to see the small line at the bottom of the news, stating that the school will close in July. After my children woke up a little and before they went to school, I wanted to break the news to them at home. I didn’t want them to be surprised with it at school. The 8th grade girl just lashed out at first, then the tears came and the words of “this is the only school I known.” The 11th grade boy just sigh heavily. He knew that he may have to retake some courses if the other school didn’t accept his course or grades due to this. Even though he is a great student with good grades. With only one more year left, this could mean he would have another year added to his education. But my job as a parent is to hold out my hands just like I did when they learned to walk. YOU CAN DO IT. Parent’s coach their kids that they can do walk even with a bump in the road. Find some positive in this. The goal is still the get an education in the end. Keep looking at that end. This building block is not the end, it is the beginning of your education. Education will lead you to find the job you want. So keep looking at the end and how to get there with the bump. Maybe their will be something or someone that you will find or meet due to this bump. Find your passion. My job is to help my children to learn to crawl, to walk and to learn how to learn to take these bumps. Parents just don’t stop just because they have learn to talk. I will help them to understand what the next steps are to take so they can that they can achieve the education they need. To guide them in seeing that something will come out of this. To see the positive, to go find it. But to also see the sadness or recognize that the future is frighten. Don’t stop. Don’t dwell on it. YOU CAN DO IT. YOU ARE STRONG. YOU HAVE FAMILY TO HOLD YOU UP. We love you.

Walter Manuel

Connie, I received calls last night from many people in the African American community and they too said the same thing about these people running LMISD, however some of them weren't as politically correct as you were.

I would hope that LM Councilman Chris Lane and Mayor Pro-Tem Keith Bell, see the damage that can be done to an organization when someone tries to fulfill the desires of their own friends and supporters, rather than doing what's right such as in the case of these two council members wanting the LM Park Board to help with the upkeep and mowing the grass of Bobby Beach stadium.

Bobby Beach stadium is and also has been a private park that was donated by the Beach family to the LM Boy's Baseball Little League in honor of their son who was killed and was never intended to be donated to the city.

Keith Bell and Chris Lane would do well to sticking to what best serves everyone in the city of LM and not a just a few of their friends who obviously can't their parents to keep up the baseball fields and concession stand like our parents tirelessly volunteered their time to do when we were young and played baseball at Bobby Beach stadium.

If the boy's parents aren't any more interested in keeping the baseball park in better condition than it currently is, then they need to find another baby sitter for them to just drop off their kids and let someone else take care of them. Period!

Joseph Cantu

When children are not the first priority, this is what happens.

Jack Cross

When I was youth chairman at the LaMarque Elks Lodge during the 70s, I worked with Grace Thomas consular at LM High school, What a great school. great teachers, school boards and superintendents. People were proud of their city, No one wanted o move and live elsewhere. LM had a outstanding volunteer fire department, People came from surrounding cities to us the community center and the Elks Lodge that had 900 members at the time.
These are facts and here is another fact.
A poor school districts will pull down the city it is located in.
This is happening all over America
We are living in a time of political correctness
People who see the problems and speak out are attacked.
The result is that people vote with their feet and leave
That in a nut shell is the story of LM ISD
A sad day indeed.
.

Walter Manuel

Your absolutely correct Mr. Cross and Mr. Cantu

Walter Manuel

Wow Mrs Anders!

I don't think that I could have thought of a more appropriate way of telling your children how to deal face on with the challenges that they may face with the news of another school district taking over LMISD.

You were spot on to tell them yourselves since a sense of false hope and deception has become a way of doing business for LMISD officials. It is better that they hear it from someone that they can actually trust, rather than from someone that they've been hearing from for so long that has been telling them "everything is going to be OK because we're STANDING STRONG".

We need more parents like yourself that can see the positive in this change rather than keeping the status quo in order that some people keep their jobs in the district all the while others don't mind standing idle watching your child's education and future suffer.

Good job Mrs. Anders![thumbup]

Rusty Schroeder

Well said, rocky roads and bright skies only make you stronger. I still can't believe the selfishness of adults to the consequences of their children. Ashamed is to kind a word. I have a couple when they get out of their holes and respond.

Mike Trube

George, my apologies.

Connie

George Croix

Apologize for what?
This is an in informal internet forum, not the inquisition where any error is punishable by death...[beam][beam][beam][beam][beam]
Although sometimes the nitpickers who complain about misssspelled words as if life depended on it make one at least consider the possibility.....[wink]

Mike Trube

Thanks George for your sense of understanding and humor. It's much appreciated. 😄
And regarding misspelled words, I read, if you are able to read a paragraph with lots of misspelled words, but your brain is able to digest the meaning, you are considered a speed reader. So, I am not a nitpicker. 😏
I hope all have a great weekend!

Connie

Jake Feigle

Walter, we all know that without your input all these years that group of leaders??? would still be having their way. All of us I La Marque owe you a great deal.

Walter Manuel

Thanks Jake, I appreciate that![beam]

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