May 21, 2013 6:35 PM by Morgan Frances - MFrances@kristv.com
KINGSVILLE - A year ago, former Premont ISD Superintendent Ernest Singleton, thought his school district was doomed to close; today, however, things have changed dramatically. Premont ISD teachers gasped as Michael Williams, Commissioner Texas Education Agency, announced that none of the Premont schools would close.
"Premont ISD is staying open," proclaimed Ernest Singleton.
After months of negotiations, the school district signed an agreement with Texas A&M University of Kingsville. The contract says the university will help the district beef up their curriculum, monitor and train Premont school district employees, make sure the schools meet state and federal standards and better prepare the students for school after graduation. The announcement was emotional for teachers who have fought so hard to keep Premont schools alive in the past few years.
Lissa Chilton, a science teacher at Premont ISD said, "This is just overwhelming. So many great things are going to happen and, I mean, sky's the limit."
Premont students will get the chance to take some classes on the Kingsville campus. The university will train Premont teachers and in doing so the teachers will receive college credit.
The partnership is not only going to help Premont ISD but it's also going to help the students in the School of Education at Texas A&M University-Kingsville. TAMUK faculty and student teachers will offer their services to Premont ISD and in doing that the university's president says these students will benefit from the deal too.
TAMUK President Steven Tallant said, "Our faculty will be learning from this experience and that will only make them better teachers in our classrooms on campus."
It's a win-win for both sides but especially a happy day for Premont ISD and the town as a whole.
"The school district and the schools are the center and focus of those small towns in South Texas," said Tallant. "If this school district had been closed many of us feared that the town would dry up and go away so this is so important, not just to the students but, the entire fabric of Premont."
Singleton said their athletic program will continue with limited sports (volleyball, basketball, baseball and tennis) until they are able to get their grounding secure with finance and academics.