Dallas ISD Board to Begin Discussing "Potential School Consolidations" Thursday Afternoon

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This story in last week's paper served to remind us of what we've known for months: Sooner than later, the Dallas Independent School District's trustees would begin discussing closing campuses to make up for the second round of budget cuts, a guesstimated $30 million worth, due to hit in the 2012-'13 school year. As DISD spokeman Jon Dahlander put it in May, "there are a lot of 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."

Thursday, that conversation begins in earnest: At 3:30 p.m. at 3700 Ross there will be a School Usage Ad Hoc Committee Meeting, and on the agenda you will see three topics of discussion: Demographics Study Update, Potential School Consolidations and the Review and Discussion of Board Policy CT (Local) Facilities Planning. The latter explains how and why the board can shutter a school, giving five very specific reasons and one far more vague explanation. It also says the board may create what's known as a School Utilization Task Force, which ...
... shall consider input from district personnel, PTA, local chambers, site-based decision-making teams, parents and students and review available demographic data, information concerning the physical condition of the schools, current and projected utilization data and such other information relevant to decisions concerning current and future use and possible closing of school facilities.
The policy was written two years ago, Dahlander says this afternoon, "because certain schools have had declining student enrollments, while there have been other parts of town where that's been completely the opposite. To try to manage our resources wisely, we're going to have to look at consolidating schools. It's been done before, and we'll start this process Thursday."

Oh, and while I had Dahlander on the phone, he wanted to mention this bit of very good news: The district managed to get 2,183 volunteer readers for Friday's 11-11-11 initiative. Very, very, very impressive.

The board's school-closure policy follows. DISD School Closure Policy
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Dm
Dm

"O.M Roberts Consolidation public hearing" at Mata Elementary School ended with nothing else than the same questions and same fogy future for OM Roberts Parents and Staff.Parents and Staff of OM Roberts, desagree to let the kids been lead by a low performance school. Per the next 2 years, OM Robert Parents, Kids and Staff will be surrender to Mata performance. DISD board say: " OM Roberts is going to be open in 2 years...", yes, that is True! but the Principal and Staff that made Examplary this school are not going to be there any more so Are we going to bring the Examplary OM Robert School back?? The better academic performance is the convination of Parents and Staff, not because the School Name..... Bring the Parents, Kids and Staff back to OM Roberts in 2 years. Do you care about this? This Jan 26, DISD will take the final decision about this consolidation process.

Dm
Dm

Last DISD meeting board reviewing the consolidation school action; you know, statistics of cost per Kid, Low student population, etc. Nobody mention if they were considering the school performance as criteria of consolidation.If you think about it, the board is accepting the fact of closing exemplary schools and as a result, the performance of the District is going to drop dramatically.DISD board, what is your commitment? Save money or to help to educate kids with high level of education??

Dm
Dm

How could be possible to sacrify a RECOGNIZE School vs Low performance School?How could you throwing the quality of the education of the kids for saving money??This is other point to be consider on the criteria during the consolidation, not just business actions "money"..... I am really desapointed of DISD...

Expectador
Expectador

at this moment is taking place conversations between disd and Mata and Roberts school, auditorium.

WW
WW

@53356a5c2181f96087aad509e9d3a64e:disqus  Ms. Birdwell

Regarding "REMAINDER of your time in DISD" ; "NEVER stepped foot on the old campus again."A Dialogue  with MM_______________________________________

MM..( requesting issue to be addressed by Board)

The belief from the teachers is that many kids, faced with permanent exile, will become less disruptive and those kids who are the core troublemakers could go to a campus where there were resources to help them overcome their issues.  The current system where kids are cycled into detention campuses every six weeks serves the kids poorly and is burning out the teachers.  I don't have enough knowledge of our current practices to form a personal opinion.  Would it be possible to have the administration consider addressing this at our next meeting?

WW..

I attended DISD schools starting in 5th grade. To say the least, I was not always a model student.Therefore I have some insights that might be useful.The "permanent exile idea" assumes that the student will never "change"..I know that "change" is hard.I know that some people.. will  never "change".But I believe it is the District's responsibility,  not only to make the attempt of "change"..but to set the goal of achieving it.. using every resource possible. As student in trouble, one of the most memorable, and caring bits of attention from staffthat I got, came when one of them wanted me to write an essay about why I did what I did.They wanted to know how I felt.. I thought that was amazing.Troubled students are hard nuts to crack.. but certainly not hard to identify. I don't know if you remember Arlo Guthrie's story "Alice's Restaurant"..But in it, was an example of jail house mentality..Where one is more likely to be accepted, if the crime is greater.( In Arlo's case, it was ..not just "Littering", but also "Disturbing The Peace "  )Some Students may  think it's cool to get sent there. These Students need concentrated attention.. not to be ostracized.MM..This is not a penal institution we are talking about, it would be an opportunity to provide needy kids access to increased resources that they could not otherwise receive on their home campus.  The kids we are talking about have sociopathic behaviors and need a stable long-term environment for their own good.  It should be viewed as a positive step, not a putative punishment.  Perhaps Roosevelt would be a campus to use in the future.WW..At what point do you do you see them being fit to re-enter society? As soon as they are out of the District's hair?MM..Clearly you don’t see the problems as the teachers live it and they are not talking about the kids who have experiences like yourself.I clearly hear the purposeful defensiveness in your tone [At what point do you do you see them being fit to re-enter society? ] and can appreciate it…but we should not be afraid to have ta dialogue no matter how uncomfortable.  I am listening to the teachers and parents who say this is an ongoing issue that has never been properly addressed.I have not formed an opinion as I do not have enough information.

WW's FINAL THOUGHT: My idea would be when ever the person was ready..regardless of the time they had been there. It is a useful tool when the "release date" is not set in stone..that "change in attitude" would be the milestone.

Diane Birdwell
Diane Birdwell

Before they SHUTTER--close, any campuses, I would ask that they convert at least four of the campuses into alternative campuses for repeat and serious offenders. If you were to eliminate the Top 25 bad apples amongst the kids at each campus, many would NOT be low-performing. How much money, time, effort and emotions are spent on the bending of reality that goes on all over DISD? Back in the 1970's, we had Metro downtown. You screwed up at your home school, that is where you went for the REMAINDER of your time in DISD. Your diploma would have your original campus name on it, cool, but you NEVER stepped foot on the old campus again. The law says we have to give them a free and appropriate education. Nothing says it has to be convenient or even fun. And for some troublemakers, "appropriate" is an alternative campus for their entire time. In Mesquite, I actually watched as a principal told a mom that if she did not like the rules of M H S, then move across LBJ and go to DISD.

It is time DISD got a backbone with parents. Sometimes, these kids need a more structured, rigid environment to get their life together. And we need to get rid of distractions.

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

I agree completely about repurposing schools for problem kids*.I call the new type of campuses Behavior Magnets.  Many of our kids in DISD are beyond disruptive, failing, and poor bc of adult substance abuse and adult mental illness. in their homes.  Donating backpacks and school supplies, although generous, cannot address the deep psychological and academic needs many of our most disruptive students have.The trustees have been made well aware of the need for both Academic Remediation campuses and Behavioral Modification campuses; not much has been done about it.

*Some trustees seem more focused on closing schools so the buildings can be handed over to charter operators.  Tax dollars will then be diverted to these private companies; there will be a whole new group of bureaucrats feeding from the DISD cash trough.  

Why don't we just copy charter methods--like expelling problem students and parents permanently--instead of paying them to do a job we can do ourselves?

Diane Birdwell
Diane Birdwell

BINGO!!! Charter campuses. THAT is what they are after!!! Rafael Anchia is one of the ones behind it as he works his way up  the political ladder.... They want to start one in North Oak Cliff/Kessler for the more "upscale" white parents who just cannot stomach Sunset or Adamson.... and kiddies aren't good enough for a magnet.

With money as tight as it is, we are in the unique position right now to reclaim a lot of the middle class who can not afford private schools anymore. Just work --from the top---to make these campuses safer, offer more AP classes and ENFORCE policies, and you will see kids  of merit walk right back to us.

Sam
Sam

Woodrow IB is beyond popular. 40% of the new students are from private schools. North Oak Cliff needs a Woodrow (and a Long Middle - also going IB, Lakewood, Lipscomb, Stonewall...)

Question?
Question?

I have a few questions Eduardo Mata is one of the elementary schools listed as less than 50% full or below the enrollment capacity.  Since O.M. Roberts Elementary was demolished to build a brand new 22 million dollar school In the interim the students are attending Eduardo Mata one of the schools listed in the DMN that might face closure.  Please note ~ that Eduardo Mata  was established in 1997 the school is only 14 years old.   So, my questions are why would DISD construct a brand new O.M. Roberts costing the tax payers another 22 million dollars (remember DISD spent 2.6 in renovating O.M. Roberts only to demolish it)  and in turn close the newly established Eduardo Mata that's just 1.98 miles / 4 minutes away from what will be the new O.M. Roberts?   Why would the district close a fairly new school?  How many millions were spent to build Eduardo Mata?

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

DISD constructs unneeded schools merely as an excuse to funnel tax dollars to the businesses owned by friends and relatives.

They get away with it bc no one votes in school board elections; no one votes out the trustees who allow these things to go on.

BigTex
BigTex

Mata is just 4th and 5th grade still right? I think thats why........ Dont forget that Lipscomb Elementary north of Long and Woodrow was K-3 and just went K-5 last year. Mt Auburn is K-3 as well

Diane Birdwell
Diane Birdwell

Part of the K-3 stuff came from the Deseg order. We are out from that now for years, so away they go.

J. Erik Jonsson
J. Erik Jonsson

RS, links are busted.

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

Odd. It appears they were changed. I've relinked. Hope that works. If not, I've included the  board policy as a Scribd file, as you can see.

Rawlins Gilliland
Rawlins Gilliland

I look at my alma mater grade school, James B. Bonham Elementary on Henderson Avenue dream street mid way between the Old Monk & Barcardia..... in one of the most upscale mid-city real estate value marketing wonderlands of my native Dallas.... Affluent.  James Bonham year after year getting rated 'Exemplary'....the highest standards of the 'industry'.  And yet it is about 90% poverty level / almost entirely Latino is a neighborhood I grew up in (24 years) that is totally disconnected to it in any sense.  Maybe 3 years ago I did a fundraiser there & we raised over $4000 in one afternoon.  I believe there were maybe 3 people there who lived nearby whereas there were dozens of people who had attended Bonham back in the day.  If a great school with the highest marks awarded,,,in an upscale 'great' part of this city.... if ignored & invisible, treated like a roach in a rent house.... what help can there be for the struggling schools in marginal or challenged parts of Dallas? 

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

Any school that does not give the very difficult 5th grade Science test or 5th grade Math test is usually Exemplary.

I believe that all K-3 schools in DISD (not sure how many there are now) were Exemplary.

In other words, it has the highest marks bc it does not give the hardest tests.

I don't know that DISD intentionally created K-3 schools to boost the number of Exemplary campuses, but with DISD, one wonders.

*Bonham is truly a lovely old school.  Unfortunately, the fact that it is a DISD school made renovating the homes around it unprofitable.  If you were an undercover DISD substitute, you would see why most parents who can do flee the district and will not invest in the homes.  See HP--a similarly-aged neighborhood--for the contrast in how school management affects cities.  It's sad to see.

Sam
Sam

Yes but there are a lot of home renovations around Bonham. Vickery Place and Cochran Heights are two of the most sucessful in-town neighborhoods anywhere, to say nothing of all the new condos, towhomes apartments and retail going in... So many developers were wanting to build $750,000 McMansions that they had to vote in restrictions.

Michael MacNaughton
Michael MacNaughton

Some stats: Built in 1924; PK-3rd grade; 28,462 sq. ft.; 302 student capacity with 262 student enrollment in Spring 2011; 87% utilization. Medrano's District.

Eastdallasgirl
Eastdallasgirl

I know that preservationdallas.org has tried to protect the Bonham school building for it's historic significance, however it needs an investor willing to do the work and pay the costs to make proper improvements to continue it's life. It's a beautiful design.

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