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Brownfield schools placed on accreditation warning

Lubbock Avalanche - Journal
March 11, 2015

By Josie Musico

BROWNFIELD — The Texas Education Agency awarded full accreditation status to all South Plains public school districts, with one exception.

Brownfield is among the 5 percent of Texas school districts that failed to meet the standard. The district is listed as accredited-warned, a status that indicates some form of deficiency.

Any form of serious trouble from financial mismanagement to academic failure can lead to a school district being named accredited-warned. Brownfield’s status stems from its accountability ratings in 2013 and 2014. The state rated the district as “improvement required” both years.

That means Brownfield’s new accreditation status is standard for a school district with its performance history, said Lauren Callahan, a spokeswoman for the Texas Education Agency.

“A district is named accredited-warned if they have two consecutive school years of an academic accountability rating of improvement required,” she said.

A main factor in determining a school’s accountability ratings is its students’ standardized test scores.

Now, the next step is to form a plan to return accreditation.

Callahan declined to speculate on Brownfield’s fate, but said a common scenario in schools with its situation is to receive a monitor from her agency. That state representative might attend school board meetings, for example, and investigate causes of academic troubles.

“Typically, we would start in with the district to work on a corrective action plan of some sort,” she said. “It’s possible that we would assign a monitor or a conservator to the district to oversee everything and make sure they’re on the right path.”

Thirty-three other Texas school districts and charter schools were named accredited-warned. About 95 percent — or 1,161 — met the accreditation standards.

If Brownfield misses academic standards again in 2015 — which would be the third year in a row — it could be listed as accredited-probation. After multiple years of deficiencies, accreditation is revoked, Callahan said.

This year, nine Texas school districts were rated accredited-probation and three were accredited-revoked.

Brownfield Superintendent Tanya Monroe had not returned a phone call or email from A-J Media as of Wednesday night.

Region 17 schools that received an improvement-required 2014 accountability rating — but still met accreditation — are Morton, Seagraves, Petersburg and Wilson.

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