Local school district loses state accreditation

(Photo by Rissa Shaw)
(Photo by Rissa Shaw)(KWTX)
Published: Feb. 9, 2018 at 1:33 PM CST
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The struggling Marlin Independent School District has lost its state accreditation.

The Texas Education Agency released accreditation statuses for school districts and charter schools across the state and the Marlin ISD’s is listed as Not Accredited-Revoked.

So is the Buckholts ISD.

Buckholts fell short in accountability ratings in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017, the TEA said.

“A Not Accredited-Revoked status means the Texas Education Agency does not recognize the district or charter school as a Texas public school following multiple years of deficiencies in academic and/or financial performance,” the TEA said in a press release Friday.

Schools that receive an initial Not Accredited-Revoked accreditation status may seek a TEA review and ultimately a view by the State Office of Administrative Hearings.

The Buckholts ISD, under a January 2017 agreement with Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath, was given a two-year abatement, Superintendent Nancy Day Sandin said in a statement.

"We have completed our first year and made great strides toward meeting standard,” she said.

On Friday, she said, Morath “assured me he will honor the agreement, that we will receive theh second year, and that I will soon be receiving a letter from the TEA to this effect.”

“Contrary to media coverage, we are not closing,” she said.

Marlin Superintendent Dr. Michael Seabolt said Friday he had already requested and received approval for a review, which TEA officials confirmed will take place in Austin Monday.

Seabolt says there’s no doubt in his mind the district’s accreditation will be restored.

He said the district is making improvements and progress, but said change is not going to happen overnight.

“Marlin is still going to be there," he said.

“Everybody needs to understand this is based off STAAR test scores, it’s not a surprise, this is a process that is required by law, we’ve been going through it every year since 2015, and we’ve been showing improvement."

"The sky has not fallen," he said.

However, TEA officials the situation was 'very serious,' and following Monday's review by a TEA panel, the final decision will be up to Education Commissioner Mike Morath.

“Commissioner Morath, at some point, will make what he feels is the best decision possible for the students of Marlin ISD," said Lauren Callahan, Media Relations and Social Media Manager for the Texas Education Agency.

According to the TEA's letter notifying the district of its accreditation status, if nothing changes, the Marlin ISD will close effective July 1, 2018.

Marlin school officials learned in August 2017 that the district had failed to meet state standards for a fifth straight year, although there were some encouraging signs.

The district showed marked improvement in its middle and high schools, but elementary scores remained low.

The district passed only two of four indices, one fewer than the state requires.

Marlin High School scored four points higher than the state requirement in student progress, four points higher in closing performance gaps and 9 points higher than state standard in post-secondary readiness.

It's the only campus that met state standards.

Marlin Middle School exceeded state standards in the student progress Index by nine points, but did not meet state standards in the student achievement Index, closing performance gaps Index and the post-secondary readiness.

Marlin Elementary School did not meet state standards in any one of the four rating indices.

The TEA told Marlin school officials in 2016 that if they did not bring test scores up in 2017 to meet state standards, or at least show remarkable improvement, the district would be taken over by the state or closed all together.

An abatement agreement with the State kept the doors of Marlin school open last fall.