The City and Dallas Independent School District Are At Odds Over Planned Joe May Elementary


joemay1.jpg
A rendering of Jose "Joe" May Elementary School, which is supposed to be built on Webb Chapel Road between Royal and Walnut Hill Lanes
Last night, Dallas Independent School District trustee Edwin Flores held court in the E.D. Walker Middle School auditorium, where some 100 district parents bundled up to hear Flores talk about the coming budget cuts thanks to the state's shortfall. (If the district is serious about saving money, maybe it ought to see about getting the school's temperature somewhere above "storing meat." Anyway.) Flores didn't say much you haven't already heard before, so no need to recap the numbers portion of the evening -- except to say the board's got a "Version 2.0" of the budget forthcoming, at which time, he said, "we'll see what we think will really happen." As opposed to, say, the super's worst-case scenario presented last month.

Flores's most interesting revelation came at the beginning of his two-hour talk, immediately following a 2008 bond program update. The District 1 rep (of "The Great Northwest," as he calls it) told the audience we might have noticed that Jose "Joe" May Elementary School on Webb Chapel between Royal and Walnut Hill wasn't in the good-news slide show just screened. The reason, explained Flores: The city of Dallas's Plan Commission "blocked" it.

Said Flores, "It's been rejected by the city," and though the district's "in dialogue with city officials," he's not optimistic the 890-student-capacity school -- intended to serve as a reliever for David G. Burnet and Tom W. Field elementary schools -- will be ready by 2012, when it's scheduled to open. Flores said best-case scenario it would open its doors in 2013.

"We've got 1,000 kids in portables who could be attending that school in 2012," Flores said. "But if we have to take the city to court, that's what we'll do."

Flores also blamed District 13 city council rep Ann Margolin: "Unfortunately, we're not getting the support from our elected official." Which is news to Margolin.

Flores is absolutely right: On February 3, the city plan commissioners voted 9-4 to deny the district's request to replat the patch of land where the district wants to build the school. Residents were already worried about putting a school on that dangerous S-shaped stretch of Webb Chapel, which is presently occupied by an empty church. But the district's decision to buy up two relatively new houses on Pensive Drive -- a small residential street -- and push the school in that direction was enough to rally neighbors, Margolin says.

"They showed up in force" to the plan commission hearing, says the council member, which is what finally convinced commissioners to deny the district's request even after city staff had recommended approving the DISD's request for a replat.

"My support is completely irrelevant to this," Margolin says. "But the neighborhood is vehemently opposed and very organized. But if the district had gone about this the right way, it should have made acquisition of the property pending approval of replatting and rezoning. But in this case they didn't, and I think [the school] would be an imposition on the neighbors."

When asked where she stands on the school, Margolin said, frankly, she doesn't understand why it's going there anyway -- in between the relatively new Leonides Gonzalez Cigarroa and the great F. P. Caillet elementary school. Says Margolin: "The district says that was the only property available. But if it hadn't been available, they could have found somewhere else to build it."
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14 comments
StopDISDorg
StopDISDorg

Some schools like O.M. Roberts are below enrollment but, DISD seems to think that a new 22 million dollar school with an 800 student capacity is needed!

NOTE~O.M. Robert Elementary was renovated just a few short years ago now it is scheduled for demolition and 22 million more tax dollars will be used to rebuild and destroy it along with destroying a neighborhood to put in parking lots in-between remaining homes.

We do NOT want to keep paying for unnecessary new schools and renovations when the state of DISD’s education system is still in dire need of its own repair. We want DISD to focus on improving the quality of education for our students and work on increasing the compensation for our teachers NOT destroying our historical schools and neighborhoods!

Learn More at www.StopDISD.org

Click on the link below to view Satire Video on DISD's Land Grab

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

busterkeaton
busterkeaton

Developers, Investors, Construction Companies...What are there stakes in this? Lots of moolah and political backings, for those who play politics, for a living.

Blame the School Board
Blame the School Board

-Attendance district-wide is down, there is no money to staff up this school and pay for its excessive heat/ac. Parents drop their kids off at school and adore their school board member, never realizing that the temp extremes at every school are a daily issue THE KIDS SUFFER through

-Boundary lines are drawn to purposely crowd some schools so it looks like we "need" new schools. Only construction companies and school board members' campaign accts benefit. The portables never, ever go away. Heaven help any homeowner who lives near a DISD school. The blight of portables kills resale value. Another gift from DISD.

-DISD schools are never an asset to a neighborhood; DISD's reputation means most middle class families move out of Dallas bc they can't afford the home, the taxes, AND private school tuition. Also, see comment about portables above.

-The most sickening piece of news I've heard through the grapevine is that the $200,000+ administrative position recently held by Viramontes is about to be filled. WHY? We are out of money! Teachers are being fired and kids will be crammed into classes of 35, but we can afford to hire a Chief of Staff for the superintendent?

Isn't he supposed to be the Chief of Staff?

Until we the voters elect a moral school board, we're doomed.Bad schools and high taxes.Wasted millions and higher taxes.

Vouchers would render these vultures obsolete.

Bettyculbreath
Bettyculbreath

DISD always make decisions without input from surrounding property owners.DISD will make decision,purchase land,spend lots of money,and not have proper zoning. i don't feel sorry for them,they do this all the time,while I served on Plan Commission,I saw it over and over.I ask them ,why the lady said,real estate division handles land acquisition,I than ask,don't you work together for same organization?Why is DISD still building schools ,with no money to staff them? The bond money can wait,it does not go away.

FlyAwayButterfly
FlyAwayButterfly

And those were honestly nice, new houses on Pensive that just weren't selling. Suspicious. I wonder who owned them and how much they got paid for them...

abuckley1970
abuckley1970

What we have here is failure to communicate. Sorry, just watched Cool Hand Luke...seemed appropriate. LOL

TimCov
TimCov

"We've got 1,000 kids in portables who could be attending that school in 2012," Flores said. "But if we have to take the city to court, that's what we'll do."

And, how are you going to pay for the teachers, utilities, upkeep, books and everything else?This is a repeated problem for governments in the Dallas area. They keep on wanting to build things, and don't have the money to maintain them.

Quigleymark2004
Quigleymark2004

Can't tell...is this planned for the east or west side of Webb's Chapel?

I don't know why they can't just expand Calliet -- it's sitting on lots of land.

Montemalone
Montemalone

OK, how many schools do we need over there? What about that prison complex they just built on Brownwood Park?

Juan Valdez
Juan Valdez

Neighbors highly organized against a school? Do they want to keep an empty church instead? Or preserve the classic period run down neighborhood? Provide the right of way to houses with 20 cars in their drive ways?Ironic!

rob
rob

Yikes.

Blame the School Board
Blame the School Board

Exactly.

Meanwhile Pershing and Gooch are nearly empty.

Redraw the lines to shift kids toward those schools.

Nope. Not an option. Will sue, build, and then ask taxpayers for more money.

Joe
Joe

The land is on the west side. I believe the church has already been torn down.

dfwrez
dfwrez

Since schools tend to raise residential property values and therefore, property taxes, I'm betting higher taxes brought out the highly organized neighbors. But then again...I've had a couple of glasses of vino. :D

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