Troubled Marlin school district hires investigators

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The board of managers of the Marlin school district agreed Tuesday to hire a law firm to look into district affairs, but board members remain tight-lipped about why they made that decision.

The Waco Tribune-Herald reported that the board voted to hire Austin-based Walsh Gallegos Treviño Russo & Kyle as “special counsel for matters pertaining to investigation regarding the affairs of the district and superintendent duties,” according to the meeting agenda. Board members declined to elaborate on what that law firm will investigate.

The Tribune-Herald pointed out that Texas school districts frequently hire Walsh Gallegos to investigate school district issues.

On June 5, the board voted 4-1 to suspend Superintendent Michael Seabolt and begin investigating his performance and that of the district. 

The Marlin school district again faces possible closure due to poor academic performance, even though the Texas Education Agency has intervened by installing its own board of managers. The district has not met standards on state academic accountability ratings for seven consecutive years. 

In February, Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath revoked Marlin’s accreditation status for the 2018-19 school year, the Tribune-Herald reported. Morath said in a letter the district could have closed as soon as July 1, but its status depends on the still-pending review by TEA of its accreditation status.

This is the fourth consecutive year Marlin has faced closure. It has operated the past three years under abatement agreements with TEA. 

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