Uplift, Deep Ellum Community Association Are Trying For a "Win-Win" With Planned School

LaureatePrepinDeepEllumLocation.jpg
The former Baylor offices at 2625 Elm in Deep Ellum where Uplift Education expects to open a new campus in August
At this very moment the city council members are discussing whether they'd like to get into the bond business to help Uplift Education with its plan to sell tax-exempt bonds to help open a new charter school in the former Baylor offices Deep Ellum. (Sounds, so far, like the item will be deferred, though, as Angela Hunt just said, "it sounds like we're being asked to take sides" -- charters or DISD.) Last week, business owners from the area met at the Deep Ellum Foundation's HQ to fret about what the project will mean for their bars and restaurants, specifically a rule that prohibits new alcohol-having businesses from opening up within 300 feet of the school. (Privately, some of them have started calling Uplift's new venture "Nightlife High.")

But last night, Sean Fitzgerald, president of the Deep Ellum Community Association , dropped by the weekly meeting of the Deep Ellum Enrichment Project (D.E.E.P) to cautiously deliver some good news. He "can't say a whole lot yet," but after a meeting with Uplift higher-ups, it's possible that they will agree to lobby the city to grant a variance on the 300-foot rule, making it possible for new bars and restaurants to freely open up around the school.

"In general, the tone of that meeting was very positive," Fitzgerald told the crowd, consisting of several dozen who'd crammed into La Bella Cupcakes on Elm Street. "We want to be in control of the nature of this neighborhood." Small business and bars, he said, "are our life-blood. ... We're still in negotiations, but we can probably work out a way that this is a win-win."

That win-win involves getting the city council members to extend the variance on the 300-foot rule that currently applies to downtown over to Deep Ellum. "That's the ultimate solution," Fitzgerald said. That way, he added, "They're coming into this neighborhood because they want to be here and accept us as is."

Carolyn Beck, the spokesperson for the TABC, says the city does indeed have the authority to grant such a variance. "State law says a city or county may enact regulations to create a distance requirement," she told us this morning. "The state gives the city or the county the authority to establish a 300-foot rule, and the city or the county can also enact variances as they see fit. It's not just talk. It's absolutely something the city can do."

As it turns out, Beck has been following the charter school debate from the get-go. "I've been seeing the press coverage on this deal, and I haven't see anything like this come up" before, she said. While it's not unusual for bars to run into zoning laws when they try to co-exist with schools, churches or day-cares, she says, "it's not usually in terms of a school trying to open up in the middle of an entertainment district."

Fitzgerald of DECA says at this point, they accept that the school is going to happen. "As a neighborhood, we have to be realistic," he tells Unfair Park. "We're focused on seeing how we can work this out and turn it into an asset for the neighborhood. If it's gonna happen, it needs to be positive for us."

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23 comments
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Vincent
Vincent

Sean fitzgerald sound like a little biatch

footmeetA$$
footmeetA$$

Okay lil'Timmy. Now if Dirty Ed wants to buy two 40's of O.E.800 and each one cost $2.40 and Dirty Ed only has $3.35...how much spare change will Dirty Ed have to panhandle for? [future math question at Uplift]

footmeetA$$
footmeetA$$

Having a school in Deep Ellum will definitely benefit those students who wish to become lawyers later on...when it comes time to take their bar exam...they'll be a shoe in!

Cy
Cy

I wish they would just renovate the old Dallas High School at Bryan/Pearl, it needs to be done eventually and it sits at a DART Rail stop.. Plus it's only 8/10ths of a mile from this Deep Ellum location. But who cares about common sense?

Bluebeard the Pirate
Bluebeard the Pirate

If the Deep Ellum Association votes yes to this, the city wins again and you will loose.  How quickly people in Dallas seem to forget how the COD had great future plans with no purpose in mind.  Take a good look down Elm and Commerce and maybe that will help jog your memory.

AKA
AKA

I was there at the meeting.  Rawlings tried to say if you are against this school, then you are against the education of poor kids...and on top of that he started to fake cry.  Hill and Davis did a great job to ask the right questions and Rawling kept trying to silence them. 

Schools don't belong in Deep Ellum.  Uplift should try 6th street in Austin...Leslie can walk the kids home.

Frank Campagna
Frank Campagna

I've been glowing this story for weeks now, well before it was public knowledge and it's been very interesting to watch play out up to this point. Uplifts intention of moving in with little to no neighborhood interaction made everyone in the hood suspicious. I appreciate Mr Fitzgerald's perseverance and countless hours of devotion into the area to find potential resolution. Level heads may prevail if all parties can agree to peacefully coexist in writing and within the law. Now it's up to city hall and the TABC to follow suit so Deep Ellum can continue it's current resurgence. I've got my fingers are crossed.

Padch76
Padch76

I still don't understand why Uplift wants to build a school in a bar/nightlife area? And what parents want their child obtaining education next door to a bar. I like that Deep Ellum is an adult neighborhood and I'm with the commenter below about the City spending money in DISD not with a charter especially a charter in a bar!

Justin Julian
Justin Julian

Still has one major problem: where are people going to park?  You're staring down the barrel of a gun loaded with a massive street project the city insists it needs to do (despite the protests of the people who live and work there), all happening while a school is opening when they know they don't have the required parking spaces, in a district where parking is already a nightmare.  

I wonder how many businesses in DE will be out of business by the time that street project ends because business for them plummets due to the complete lack of parking on weekdays and some evenings?

DallasDweller
DallasDweller

When will DISD understand that it needs to improve real schools not create more Charter or specialty schools? Sure those schools do well in rankings, etc, but if I am going to live in Dallas, raise a family in Dallas, I dont want my kid going to some weirdo specialty school where he/she grows up socially stunted. I want my kid to play sports, make friends with varying interests, and generally grow up to be well rounded. Right now DISD offers more or less one option in that regard and even it is considered "Academically Unacceptable" (I am speaking of Woodrow). If DISD wants to raise that 4.6% (yeah I said it), which I suppose they likely care nothing about, then they need to improve real schools. If Dallas expects people with money to live in DALLAS for longer than the 5 to 10 years after college and the 10 to 15 years before the nursing home, then they have to do this. Otherwise, white-flight will never stop and we'll all be stuck in traffic jams in places like Celina and Melissa before you know it.  

Chad
Chad

"White flight"? Is this the 1950's? You are extremely ignorant! Charter schools are not "weirdo specialty schools". They are actually a good alternative to the mismanaged, under performing public schools we are required to continue funding. 

Against the Charter
Against the Charter

Ninety Percent of them are SCAMS to make people MONEY.  They are not there to educate they are there to MAKE MONEY.  Just like the television news when it started making it became about money.  Superintendents of these one of charter schools are always paid better then there counterparts at mid size districts (200k+) range.  They hire poor teachers and hide behind the rules that say underprivildged children they serve do not have to meet state standards on standardized tests to keep funding. They are corporate jokes of for BAGS of MONEY.  You need to read more on them, yes there are really good college prep ones beyond 10th grade but ninety percent before that are BAGS of DOUGH.

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

I don't doubt that some charter schools are bad.... but if they are, they will have trouble attracting students and will ultimately fail.  That's the beauty of charter schools, they have to COMPETE for their students.

Guest
Guest

 Yeah and "one of" charter schools, the ones who claim success, those Superintendents pay themselves because they have no one to answer to more then 200K a year.  People in charter schools who laugh at you and pulled the wool over your eyes years ago when they started, look at the FOX News special a few years back those were all JOKES.  Just look at the public documents on there payrolls and look at the results from standardized testing results on the TEA website, the nepotism and results speak for themselves. clearly a misuse of state funds.

Chad
Chad

I think you need to do a little more research! I have three friends who work in different charter school systems and I've heard nothing but positive things from them about their organizations and students. 

Michael Hinojosa from DISD was making 400k+ a year, drove the district into the ground and ran off with a sizable pension to ruin another school district.  

Amy S
Amy S

"I want my kid to play sports, make friends with varying interests, and generally grow up to be well rounded." Hillcrest, WT White, Skyline, Sunset.

footmeetA$$
footmeetA$$

So, let's send all of Dallas' kids to those schools! There! I solved the education crisis...

johan
johan

I hereby propose a new law banning business guys and anyone that has a capital C in their title from using the phrase "win-win." Should be easiest enough to get through the Texas Legislature. They apparently have nothing else better to do.

Sidewinder
Sidewinder

Where these kids gonna hold PE class? I hope these kids can run off some energy in a gym somewhere before they head over to that cupcake store.

G_David
G_David

They'll get roughly the same amount of P.E. as the average public school student.  Zero.

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

I look at it like this: Its all about being a good neighbor. While I still don't believe that a Jr/Sr. prep school should be opening in Deep Ellum, I welcome this news. Our neighborhood is finally coming into its own "spring season" as it were, as new business is relocating down here and opening. My only concern about this plan is what kind of weight will be given under the current SUP to allow the neighborhood control over business...

Ross3700
Ross3700

The Texas Real Estate code helps us understand Uplift: "Under all is the land..."Each kid that Uplift Charter enrolls (and they don't enroll the troublemakers) takes money  directly away from the Public schools.  At least in the Public schools you can try to direct the way your tax money is spent locally via your elected school board trustees...not so at the Charters. Your tax money + no representation locally + city in the charter school bond business = you are being screwed.

Guest
Guest

Each kid enrolled at a charter also takes away from the expenses of the DISD.  So it really only makes the DISD smaller, not worse off.  The DISD could stand to be much smaller. 

I don't think anyone is thrilled with the way the DISD spends its money, and we probably won't be happy with the way most charters spend their money.  I don't feel that I have any influence on either.  At least the charters have to keep the kids' parents happy or they lose the kids and funding, which strikes me as better than the responsiveness parents get at the DISD. 

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