Dallas ISD Hopes to "Earn Community's Trust" By Streamlining Its Alternative Schools

fridia_building.jpg
Otto M. Fridia Jr. Alternative High School, which would become the district's over-age middle school
We've had this discussion on and off in recent months: With all the schools coming online courtesy the 2008 bond election, when oh when will Dallas Independent School District begin shuttering some of its existing campuses? Trustee Edwin Flores says perhaps as soon as the 2012-'13 school year; this morning, district spokesman Jon Dahlander tells Unfair Park he expects that conversation "to begin in earnest in the fall."

Dahlander and I were talking about several items on the board's briefing agenda for Thursday morning, during which trustees will get their look at the fourth version of the expected budget guts forthcoming in the wake of the state's shortfall. I wanted to know about one in particular: the suggestion that the district close two of its alternative schools -- Otto M. Fridia Jr. Alternative High School in the Cedars, and Barbara M. Manns High School downtown. Says the agenda item, the proposal is being made "in an effort to best utilize resources" and to "earn the community's trust through good financial management."

Dahlander says Fridia wouldn't be closed -- it'll just "change its focus." Which is to say: Once home to "at-risk" students shipped in from throughout the district, it'll now serve as the over-age middle school which, you'll recall, was first proposed in January. And the building on Ervay that houses Manns will stay open, since it also houses Maya Angelou High School, which serves pregnant students.

"It's an office building downtown, so it would be redirecting students who had been attending Manns to either their home school or the overage high school, which would be the John Leslie Patton Jr. Academic Center," Dahlander says. "It's an attempt to streamline resources, which came up last year, so it's been in the works for a while."

But he acknowledges: This is but the tip of the tip of the tip of the iceberg that will eventually lead to the discussion of closing down schools.

"And that discussion is a lengthy one involving not only the board, but also the community," he says. "It involves redrawing boundaries, and there are a lot of d decisions that come with shuttering a school, but to maximize efficiencies you need to have them. And it'll be difficult, but it's important to have them. Neighborhoods change. Neighborhoods evolve. Where one particular school may not have as many kids as it was envisioned to have, there are other parts of town where population is booming, so you want to maximize resources there.

"And just because a school is closed for one year to five years to 10 years doesn't mean it won't be reopened. We've seen that at DeGolyer and Withers. They were shut down, and now they're vibrant. It depends on how communities come back around."

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3 comments
mystified
mystified

You should see the kids at the new over age middle school!!! Screaming and tearing up the halls, smoking pot in the bathrooms.  They are not afraid of anybody and completely out of control.  It is a shame for the kids that are there to learn or catch up.  The gangsters and hoodlooms are taking over and there is no one there doing anything to stop it.

Badass
Badass

what scool do the kids tha went to otto fridia pose to go to?????

StopDISD.org
StopDISD.org

DISD has a similar plan brewing in East Dallas this plan will close three surrounding elementary schools so, they can spend Bond monies to build a brand new elementary with an 800 student capacity (You know DISD has to provide a helping hand to the contractors building the school while teachers get pink slips) we are talking about pre-k to fifth graders being bussed over. That is dangerous and a waste of tax dollars. O.M. Roberts Elementary is under populated but, DISD moves forward to demolish it even though they spent over 2 million remodeling it. This is wrong. Our children deserve a better education! ~ Our teachers deserve better compensation! ~ Our schools and neighborhoods deserve consideration for preservation not destruction! 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... Danger, Danger Dallas ISD lies, cheats, steals and conceals all their dirty deals no newsreels to reveal so surreal

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