Posted Date: 02/07/2019
When it comes to McMullen County, there is a special pride in the local school district and a record of achievement that draws students from as nearby as Pleasanton and Jourdanton and as far away as Cotulla.
Half of the students attending McMullen County Independent School District are transfer students, with the other half coming from McMullen County. In fact, there’s a lengthy waiting list of people who would like their children to attend MCISD.
What makes the small school district such a big destination?
“First and foremost it’s our academics,” said Jason Jones, MCISD superintendent. “Our kids are high performers, and we have high quality teachers and staff. Our kids are getting a great education here and they perform really well.
“In addition to academics, we have high achievement in extracurricular activities such as FFA, ag mechanics and athletics. Our students also do really well in UIL academics. There are a lot of good things going on here.”
Jones credited the school board for playing a strong role in the district’s success.
“They are very supportive and make high achievement possible,” he said. “We have an excellent board.”
The longest serving members of the board are Warren Wheeler, with 27 years, and Karen Wheeler, with 26 years. Other board members are Walt Franklin, with 22 years service, Michael Gunter, with 15 years, Marty Harris, with 13 years, and Joe Verastegui, with 10 years. Newcomer Chris Turner is also a school board veteran, with eight years experience.
Because of the success of the oil and gas industry in McMullen County, the district sends a large share of the money it collects back to the state.
“We have to send a lot of local money back,” Jones said. “The school finance system definitely needs restructuring. It’s not equal for everybody and poses a challenge for each district in one way or another.
“We have to find a middle ground for things to level out and for every school district to benefit.”
Although there has been talk about revamping the state’s school finance system for a while, Jone said he is finally starting to see some momentum in the state legislature for resolving the long-standing issues.
If the state leaders don’t take the responsibility for doing what needs to be done to improve school finance, people at the local levels throughout Texas will, Jones said.
“As the years go on, I think you are going to see more and more voices at the local level,” he said. “It’s clear we need change. That local involvement will be good. It will be interesting to see how things turn out.”
In addition to the school board, teachers and staff, as well as the efforts of the students, Jones said there is another key factor in MCISD’s success.
“We have great parents who are supportive of what we’re doing, and it makes a big difference,” he said.