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New school board for La Marque selected

Another step in the process.

The Texas education commissioner on Friday announced the appointments of a new superintendent and a board of managers for the troubled La Marque school district, replacing a board that is legally challenging an order for the district to be annexed next year by the Texas City ISD.

The appointments were followed by an order essentially disbanding the La Marque school board and transferring authority to the Texas City school board, although the board of managers will handle affairs until Texas City takes over July 1. The order formalized Education Commissioner Michael Williams’ decision in November to dissolve La Marque ISD.

Although the school met its academic goals, the old school board had signed an agreement stating it would lose is accreditation if it also failed to meet financial standards. Members of that board argue that the rules were changed after the district submitted its financial report to the Education Agency. The agency says that the district knew about the rule change.

The deposed but defiant La Marque school board members vowed to pursue a lawsuit challenging William’s authority to disband the school district.

“The short of it is that the Texas City folks … they wanted our tax base and they are in cahoots with the commissioner,” said Richard Hooker, a member of the school board dissolved Friday who taught education at the University of Houston for 30 years and handled state school reform under former Gov. Dolph Briscoe, in the 1970s.

“We were doing everything they asked us to do,” said Hooker, who accused Williams of being anti-public education.

See here and here for the background. The names of the folks appointed to head up La marque ISD in the interim are listed later in the story. The locals have already promised to fight the order, though the track record of school districts that have been given this sentence is not encouraging. I can’t comment on the allegation about Texas City, it’s the first I’ve heard of it. Can anyone in the area or who knows more about this history weigh in?

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