TEA News Releases Online
May 26, 2010
U.S. Department of Justice clears way for merger of
Kendleton and Lamar Consolidated school districts
AUSTIN – The U.S. Department of Justice on Tuesday cleared the way for the commissioner of education to consolidate the Kendleton Independent School District with neighboring Lamar Consolidated ISD, effective July 1.
Commissioner of Education Robert Scott in March announced his intention to close Kendleton, a Houston-suburban district, because of chronic academic problems. Because the consolidation eliminates the Kendleton school board, it was necessary for Texas Education Agency to seek preclearance from the Justice Department as Texas remains under restrictions imposed by the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
The Justice Department notified TEA officials Tuesday that “the attorney general does not interpose any objections to the specified changes.”
Scott said the consolidation will now move forward as planned.
“Closing a school district is a somber moment. It is an action I take only when all other efforts to revive a district have failed. I believe the children of Kendleton will be better served by Lamar Consolidated. I appreciate the efforts of leaders in both districts who are working to make this transition as smooth as possible.”
TEA-appointed conservator Shirley Johnson will help facilitate the transition. All the property of Kendleton transfers to Lamar Consolidated.
Kendleton is located in Fort Bend County, outside of Houston. It has one school, Powell Point Elementary, that serves 76 students in early childhood through sixth grade. Middle school and high school students in the district already attend Lamar Consolidated schools.
The district recently was assigned a 2009-2010 accreditation status of Not Accredited- Revoked. The accreditation system looks at academic and financial accountability ratings for 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. Kendleton received an academic rating of Academically Unacceptable for all four years. In 2009, the low rating was due to writing performance on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS). In 2008, the unacceptable rating was due to reading performance. Low math passing rates in 2007 and low science passing rates in 2006 also caused unacceptable ratings.
Additionally, the long-troubled district also received the state’s lowest rating in 2005 and 1997 through 2000 as well.
This is the first time the commissioner has revoked the accreditation and authority of a district to operate as a public school system since the current accreditation system was implemented in 2006.
However, past commissioners have used other state authority to close Wilmer-Hutchins ISD in 2006, Mirando City ISD in 2005 and Asherton ISD in 1999.