Marlin Independent School District Superintendent Michael Seabolt estimates there is a 75 percent chance his district will remain open. School officials have reviewed results of the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, but statewide academic accountability standards that could determine the district’s fate have not yet been set.
The district must meet academic standards to keep the district’s board of trustees intact and the district open, according to an agreement between the district and the Texas Education Agency. Preliminary academic accountability results are typically made public in August.
The district will be closed if it fails final ratings that are traditionally released in October, according to state reports.
Seabolt said he is optimistic after seeing improvements in the district’s scores.
“I think almost every test pretty directly showed improvement over the last year,” he said.
Just one of 12 tests did not show adequate improvement, Seabolt said. The 12 tests are reading and mathematics for third grade through eighth grade, and fourth-grade mathematics scores were the weakest.
Seabolt said four tests showed very strong student growth, three showed strong student growth and four showed average student growth.
Seabolt, who has been superintendent about a year, said he is awaiting accountability ratings from the TEA, like every other Texas school.
Accountability ratings tell districts whether they met academic standards or not.
He does not know when the TEA will provide more clarity on the status of Marlin ISD. Seabolt said the TEA has inserted a new commissioner and new employees, and a legislative session is starting in the winter.
Marlin ISD has struggled to meet state standards. In September, the Texas Education Agency revoked its accreditation status and announced a plan to close the district.
Seabolt submitted a report to the TEA in September arguing the district should remain open.
According to state law, districts with four straight years of failing financial or academic accountability scores will be closed. Marlin ISD failed state accountability standards five out of the past 10 years, including every year since 2011.
The TEA placed the district on probation in the 2014-15 school year after it was rated “unacceptable” in 2011 and “improvement required” the following years.
The state has closed five public school districts since 2005.