Damarcus Offord and Bernadette Nutall Took the Debate to the Radio Yesterday

offord_nutall (1).jpg
We tuned in to the Dallas ISD's District 9 school board trustee forum on KHVN 970 yesterday between incumbent Bernadette Nutall and her challenger, 20-year-old Damarcus Offord. Host Robert Ashley and his station, it turns out, moderated the best debate thus far.

The two clearly don't like each other (nothing wrong here; it keeps us tuning in), and the both camps have unscientific polls that show their candidate blowing out the other. The two bickered throughout the show. But after listening, the takeaway is this: Save for one issue, they agree on almost everything.

When talking about the pandemic dropout rates in District 9, Offord said the city should have programs for at-risk students. Nutall said they've created initiatives for at-risk students.

Neither of them think teachers should work 45 minutes more a day, for free (Nutall voted against the rule).

Both don't think alternative schools as they exist are working.

And for the record, they're both iffy on new superintendent Mike Miles.

"When you're coming from 11,000 to 157,000, it raises some questions," Offord said, referring to the student body sizes of Miles' old district and his new one. He thought the board should have hired a local. "We have to take people who are from the community and put them back into the community to say, 'look where I'm at now.'

Nutall, who voted to hire Miles, expresses caution: "We all interview well, we all talk, and we're going to do, do do, but it's a different story when it comes to action. And I'm waiting for the action."

Then came the one place they diverge: Closing underpopulated schools.

"The whole campaign has been about coulda, woulda, shoulda Bernadette," she said, after dodging an Offord allegation that she's not for the community. And she's right. If you listen to Offord, the whole reason why he's running is because Nutall voted to close 11 DISD schools in January. It is literally his entire platform, and it is basically the only significant issue on which they differ.

But right now, it may be the only issues that matters in the neighborhoods they're fighting to represent. The first listener who called in asked Nutall: "Do you feel you have committed political suicide in the Southern sector, in District 9?"

"No, I do not feel like I've committed political suicide," she replied testily. "Number one, I'm going to do what's in the best interest for our children." She voted on the logic that human resources, like good teachers and nurses, are more important than the buildings they work in, and voted to consolidate schools so that more students would have access to those human resources. It sounds logical, of course, unless your school is one of the ones getting closed and your kids are getting bused somewhere else.

And this is Offord's whole point. He didn't have anything to do with the vote, so he's running on the hypothetical that he wouldn't have voted to close the schools, and when he is elected, he'll try to have them reopened (which seems unlikely.)

The DISD race in District 9 has always been about "coulda, woulda, shoulda Bernadette." But the questions are equally: "Would he? Could he? Should he?"

My Voice Nation Help
15 comments
guest
guest

One of the most expensive school in Dallas ISD has to be Barak Obama Academy because there are so few students and so many added teacher units - not to mention the millions it took to renovate the building. But that school is the darling of Nutall's bud, Shirley Ison-Newsome, so it was allowed to open this fall while neighborhood schools are being shut down. This is no doubt why SIN did not pitch a fit about closing schools in South Dallas.. This move is really about taking resources from the masses of poor kids in Dallas and giving them to a few students of promise.

The reason Bernadette needs to go is that she has set up shop in the Administration Building along side SIN and the two of them make  bonehead moves like assigning SIN's god-daughter as principal of Ebby Halliday and wasting Title I funds on computer math programs and a field trip to the movies. There are many more - mostly worse - examples but these are the ones that have made the news.

If Nutall and Offord do not differ significantly on the issues, then kids in Dallas ISD will be far better off with Offord in the picture and Nutall sent packing leaving Miles free to ditch SIN.

Doug
Doug

I don't live in Dallas, so have no horse in this race...and I really don't know anything about her.  It's interesting to note there are those who have no use for her....others who think she's good.  I found the whole school closing issue interesting...reminded me of the DOD attempts to close bases years ago...couldn't do it because Reps and Senators would never vote to close THEIR base...and nobody else would either because next time it  would be in their district...thus the creation of the Base Closing Commission which took the (political) responsibility away from Congress.  I admire her political courage for doing what was probably right for the district, even knowing it was going to anger some (many) of her constituents.

trudat
trudat

The "right" thing "for the district" would have been for her to develop a set of strategies and tactics that protected the educational resources in her district.  That would have been a much harder job than just going along with the alternatives offered by the "powers that be".    And if she wanted to "go along to get along", she should have told the public...or just resigned.  There were alternatives to closing the schools, but she didn't seem to want to investigate and/or fight for alternatives very much.

Cares About Kids
Cares About Kids

Trudat, will you PLEASE become informed.  There was nothing Ms. Nutall could do if her number one goal was to deliver as many resources to the children in her district as possible.  PLEASE understand Title I funding from the government.  It requires that schools spend equally per student.  Small schools can't spread their costs as broadly as larger schools, so to comply and not risk losing over $100 million of federal funding, DISD has to take resources away from small enrollment schools to keep the per student cost in line.  There was no political reason for Trustee Nutall to do this.  But she knew what was best for her kids....resources educate kids, not buildings.  Mr. Offord has run on one issue and one issue alone....this one.  And even he and his supporters don't understand the reason.  Kids should always come first, not adults.

Guest
Guest

If your statements are true about Nutall not having a choice in votint to close the swchools, why did President Lew Blackburn and Colby, from the finance dept, come up with altrnative funding to keep the schools open? This mess about buildings do not educate the kids is foolish.  Neighborhood schools,particularly elementary, are what people are asking for and want for their small children.  There is not, and will never by any exuse for closing 11 schools when DISD is still building schools.  D.A. Hulsy and Pearl C. Anderson both had around 500 students.  Please explain why those schools are being closed when the do not meet the criteria of 251 students and below that Nutall said was the only criteria that was used for closing the schools.

Why did Nutall take $10,000 from Educate Dallas 2 days before the vote to close the schools?

It does not matter what issues he is campaigning on if they are the truth and adversely affect the children.

Guest
Guest

If your statements are true about Nutall not having a choice in voting to close the schools, why did President Lew Blackburn and Colby, from the finance dept ,come up with alternative funding to keep the schools open? This mess about buildings do not educate the kids is foolishness. Neighborhood schools, particularly elementary, are what people are asking for and want for their small children. There is not, and will never be any excuse for closing those schools when DISD is still building school. D.A Hulcy and Pearl C.Anderson both had around 500 students. Please explain why those schools are being closed when they do not meet the criteria of 251 students and below that Nutall has said is the only criteria that was used?

Why did Nutall take the $10,000 from educate Dallas 2 days before the vote to close the schools?

Finally, it does not matter what issues he is campaigning on if they are the truth and adversely affect the children.

IJUSTDONTGETIT
IJUSTDONTGETIT

Answer this question.  Would those 5 schools in District 9 or the other 6 schools throughout DISD still be open if Bernadette would have voted to keep them open?

trudat
trudat

Actually, I don't have a cut and dried, yes or no answer to that question because for me the variables in a situation like that are not clear. But what Ms. Nutall has done goes beyond the mechanics of one simple yes or no vote.  I mean, how would you like it if the army that was supposed to protect you from an enemy decided to join forces with the enemy army on the battlefield without sufficient communication with you first?  Some people would say you were betrayed by that army.  Some people would also say that Ms. Nutall betrayed the trust of the people she claimed to represent.  And if you listen to other district 9 voters who oppose Nutall, you will get still more reasons to vote against Nutall. 

Sammy
Sammy

Unlike many people posting here, my schools  have actually been represented by Ms. Nutall. She has done a good job. I'm sorry but the schools in South Dallas are losing students and more schools will probably have to be closed, consolidated or have their attendance boundaries adjusted.

She is the only serious candidate. The other guy, while earnest and enthusiastic, just does not have what it takes at this point.

trudat
trudat

One thing that is expected of trustees is that they generally will represent the wishes of the folks that elect them.  If Nutall had done a better job at this, she probably would not have so much opposition. Apparently, she did not have what it takes, but she was elected to the previous term. Offord may not have everything that some people think he should have but he certainly has what it takes...Numerous young people have been elected to public office in this country and many have done an outstanding job of representing the people who elected them...

James Thorp
James Thorp

This race is a joke. If Bernadette is not re-elected, it will be setting all kids back. We need someone looking out for the best interest of our kids, not the adults. DISD does not exist to serve grown men and women, but to use capable adults for the betterment of our kids. Bernadette Nutall understands this, and has done a great job so far on the school board. 

trudat
trudat

If she had done such a great job, there would not be so much opposition to her re-election...

Cliffhanger
Cliffhanger

The whole Miles thing is the problem with Nutall in a nutshell. She talks a good game about being skeptical and wanting to make real changes, but when push comes to shove, she votes the party line. And with 43 AU schools, the party line isn't working.

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

Recently received a call from the Super PAC to reelect Bernadette The Nutter, I told them the same i've said here: Shes been an abject failure for the DISD and I'll be voting for Mr. Offord.

Now Trending

Dallas Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...