Ranger Disputes Dallas ISD's Contention That Board Doesn't Need to OK Townview Overhaul

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On Tuesday, the Dallas Independent School District announced it's splitting Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Center into two schools, divvying up the six magnets housed within and reducing the number of principals from seven to two in an effort to save money -- and teachers. Shortly after the release went out, I called district spokesman Jon Dahlander and asked if this was something that could be done without the approval of the board of trustees. Absolutely, he said: "The superintendent has the authority to make those changes."

But Carla Ranger disputes that: Writing on her blog this morning, the trustee insists that, per local board policy concerning magnet schools, only the trustees have the power to make that decision based upon the administration's recommendations:
These are difficult times, and difficult decisions must be made. Trustees might decide to make other changes or simply accept the recommendations of the administration. That is understood. What is not understood is the failure to follow Board policy.

Decisions cannot be made by Trustees outside of an official Board meeting. This would be a violation of the Texas Open Meetings Act. And nothing has been presented to the Board for an official decision.
If Ranger can gather enough fellow trustees who agree with her, they can place an item on the board's agenda for further discussion. But Superintendent Michael Hinojosa's contract does give him the power to "assume administrative authority and responsibility for the assignment, reassignment and evaluation of all personnel other than the superintendent." Furthermore it says he has the "authority to organize, reorganize, arrange, direct, assign, reassign and transfer all staff in the manner which best serves the district."
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8 comments
Bettyculbreath
Bettyculbreath

The Court settlement contained some protection for Magnet schools,what is being done at Townview is more than a normal move of students and staff.this is a complete reorganization of the Magnet school program.

Church Lady
Church Lady

Ms. Ranger,What does the Lord require? "to do justice"Continue to fight for justice for the students of the DISD!

Suzette
Suzette

As a parent of a Townview student, I agree the school has an abundance of Principals. Sure I think some cuts should and must be made at the school. Although re-arranging the whole school structure is not the answer.

Michael MacNaughton
Michael MacNaughton

Moving staff around is one thing - restructuring 6 schools without consent from the Board is something else entirely. Restructuring 6 schools without input from the PTAs, SBDMs, parents, teachers, principals and the Board is just boneheaded.

Rumpunch
Rumpunch

Mike - That was my thought as well. I understand that cuts need to be made, however I was a little put off by Jon D's comment that it was a done deal, no board vote, end of discussion. I knew that it would not sit well with Carla, and he too should have known.

Now one of the two issues will get lost in the fight, will the proper way to deal with Townview and the rest of the District's financial issues get lost in this policy fight or vice versa. One side will blame the other for avoiding progress due to red tape and the other will blame them for lack of transparancy.

As an SEM and Barefoot Sanders parent, I wish that the magnets were immune to the cuts. We all want someone else to bear the burden. I know that is probably impossible. However, you know my feelings and I know your feelings regarding where the cuts should happen first. Hinojosa will blame Title I comparability or the State Budget for the cuts, however when this is the first cut with a face to it (i.e. names and campuses rather than just formulas), his true motives are clear.

Michael MacNaughton
Michael MacNaughton

Look - Townview needs to lose some FTEs (Full Time Employees) due to Title 1 comparability requirements. Right now, under the DISD version 3 plan (or guess), which estimates State cuts at $110M, Townview falls at the 100% mark in the range of 90%-110%. At this "setting" Townview has to lose 45 FTEs but they get 11 back because they will receive funding from Title 1 that they can spend on FTEs...so a net loss of 34 FTEs is expected. Funding at 110% jiggles everything around but probably lowers the number from a net loss of 34 FTEs to around 28 or 29 FTEs. This is doable. The principals have known for quite some time that changes need to be made. The heavy-handed, ill-conceived and ill-communicated changes proposed by the administration will cause more problems then they solve and, in my opinion, will eventually cause the collapse of the magnet programs at Townview. There are alternatives to the Superintendent's "done deal" that can and should be pursued - there is plenty of time before the budget is formally presented in the last week of May or the first week of June.

We were also informed today that privately funded AP stipends must be included in Title 1 comparability calculations - a setback to alternative funding.

DISD's Steven Korby (Executive Director of Financial Services) writes:

"The TEA regulations that govern the comparability calculations specifically require the inclusion of Locally Funded Special Revenue Funds which include the program funded by the Texas Instruments Foundation, the O'Donnell Foundation and others to encourage increased participation in the Advance Placement program. Right or wrong, this regulation seems designed to prevent the circumvention of the comparability requirements by using contributed funds or grants. The regulations don't prevent raising and utilizing the funds so long as the result complies with the comparability requirements. The 2010-11 school year is the first year of the enhanced AP program. The program has existed for a number of years on a much smaller scale. Due to the newness of this program, there was no timely budget for the 2010-11 year and therefore this program was not considered in the comparability analysis for 2010-11. It will be considered going forward."

See all the documents on the unofficial CBRC site: www.BudgetReview.org under the documents tab.

Mike MacNaughton, CBRC Membermike@dfpe.org214-564-5316

Guest
Guest

Why are Title I regulations penalizing private organizations for contributing to schools that the organization feels have earned the funding they can provide?

Why isn't DISD and the CBRC questioning Title I policies being changed to penalize schools for earning outside funding by being good schools - thus improving education quality AND costing the district less money to do so?!

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