Town Hall answers preliminary concerns over MISD
Many questions from members of the Marlin community were answered at the Town Hall meeting held on Jan. 28.
The purpose of this meeting was to create a conversation about the options available to Marlin ISD should the Texas Education Agency Commissioners decide to terminate the school district.
Members of the Marlin City Council were present, along with Mayor Carolyn Lofton and A. Marcus Nelson, the City of Marlin’s educational consultant.
Lofton was adamant in the fact that the City of Marlin is not vying for the closure of Marlin ISD, but that they are, in fact, are looking to prepare the community in the event that it does.
“It’s going to impact the City of Marlin in a way you probably haven’t thought about,” she said.
She went on to explain that along with the current uncertainty of the situation comes possible missed opportunity. Potential investors are deterred when they inquire as to the state of the school district and the city is at a loss of what to tell them.
“None of us know,” Lofton said. “What we wanted to do was put a back up plan in place to try to save it.”
Having only found out earlier in the day herself, Lofton explained to the community that the data that the commissioners will be looking at to make their decision is from the 2018-2019 school year, despite the immense pressure being put on educators in the district for a passing score for the current year.
“The data from the efforts that [district educators] are putting forth right now will not come until August of next year,” Lofton said.
This conflicts with what Marlin ISD’s Interim Superintendent Dr. Jean Bahney is preaching to classroom educators daily. Educators in the audience voiced their agreement when an anonymous person stood up to question this.
“So then why is Dr. Bahney saying that we need to make a D? It doesn’t sound like she thinks it will be closed,” the person said.
Dr. Bahney, who was invited to the Town Hall, was not present to shed insight on the difference of information presented.
Lofton maintained that Deputy TEA Commissioner Jeff Cottrill confided in her that a decision could be made in March 2020, despite STAAR testing being in April 2020, because the TEA would be analyzing last year’s data.
“I can only hope and believe that whatever Dr. Bahney is doing over there is gonna influence him to hopefully leave it open an additional year,” she said.
The discussion that ensued gave additional insight on the ways the community would be impacted if schools closed. Because the process is only in the beginning stages, many questions presented by parents and educators alike went unanswered due to the level of detail they required.
Nelson took charge in responding to what he could with the same ‘unprecedented levels of transparency’ as shown by city officials throughout the situation. It was made clear that the main goal in evaluating the many options available is to keep the education of the children in Marlin local.
“I can say that unequivocally that our plan is going to involve some type of proposal that allows us to have a school in Marlin, Texas,” Nelson said. “No one is going to take care of Marlin kids like Marlinites.”
The educator also praised participants for their high level of thinking and inept understanding....
For the rest of the story pick up the Feb 5. edition of The Marlin Democrat or Read the E-Edition here.