Marlin: Nelson accepts flat fee to consult on education options

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MARLIN, Texas (KWTX) The former superintendent of the Waco Independent School District has officially been hired by the City of Marlin.

Marcus Nelson. (Photo by Clint Webb)

The city council unanimously approved the contract to hire Nelson as an education consultant for the city during Tuesday night's council meeting.

City leaders are bringing Nelson on to help them in applying with the Texas Education Agency for a city charter school in case the state decides to shut down the Marlin Independent School District.

"At the end of the day, the Marlin city is going to have to be responsible for their children," Nelson told KWTX. "If we're going to take that seriously, then we're going to have to consider a myriad of options in order to make sure the kids here get the education they deserve."

Marlin ISD has failed to meet state academic standards since 2010–longer than any other school district in Texas.

"You can't keep doing the same thing over and over and expect different results, you have to change things every now and then in order to get something different," said Marlin Mayor Carolyn Lofton. "We're hoping to make that drastic change."

Nelson will be paid a flat fee of $10,000 to see the city through the state's charter school application process.

Although his contract officially went into effect after he signed it Tuesday night, Nelson has already met with the MISD and the TEA.

"Really the first thing to do is make sure that there's high levels of transparency, high levels of communication, so I began those conversations with the leadership team at Marlin ISD, I began to have those conversations with the Texas Education Agency, and our next step is to make sure all the community stakeholders are aware of the options afforded by the TEA," said Lofton.

City officials said Education Commissioner Mike Morath should make a decision on whether or not to close the district around March but will apply for a city charter school as a backup.

They say the city should know the status of the charter school application as early as May but as late as August.

Lofton says Nelson was the only applicant who applied to consult the city through the process.

"With the expertise of Dr. Nelson, we have an opportunity to build something better than what we have," said Nelson.

His hiring is controversial as he resigned from Waco ISD last year over a misdemeanor drug arrest.

"I think everything God does is purposeful, so I think he put him in our path for a reason, we may not see it right now, but down the road, we'll see what God was trying to do," said Lofton. "I feel like he's blessed us by coming here."

In 2014 Nelson was named Superintendent of the Year by the Texas Association of School Boards while at Laredo ISD where he served before coming to Waco ISD in the Spring of 2017.