Dallas Friends of Public Education Chair offers alternative to DISD Bond Proposal

Michael S MacnaughtonOn the DISD Blog, Dallas Friends of Public Education Chair Michael S. McNaughton explains why we should vote against the DISD Bond Proposal and then offers recommendations for a future bond proposal:

What should the district do? Here are a few recommendations:

  • 1. Shift attendance boundary lines moving students from overcrowded to underutilized schools, saving a portion of the planned $600 million earmarked for additional classrooms for a student population that is 3,000 students fewer than predicted this year.
  • 2. Utilize former kindergarten classrooms instead of building new pre-K classrooms. Kindergarten enrollment is down 1,100 students since 2015.
  • 3. Rethink plans for Pinkston H.S. Current plans for Pinkston represent almost 10% of the total bond package. ($130 Million)
  • 4. Eliminate the new middle school planned for West Dallas. Existing schools in the area are underutilized. ($65 Million)
  • 5. Eliminate Destination 2020 programs sponsored by former superintendent Miles. The bond should support the new superintendent’s goals. ($93 Million)
  • 6. Shift funding saved from the above recommendations (an estimated $250 Million) to repair the 7 schools that would still be rated in poor condition, according to the Parsons report, after the proposed bond work is complete.

Our students deserve a better plan.  Voters should demand one.

Michael S. MacNaughton,
Chair, Dallas Friends of Public Education.
Member DISD Citizen’s Budget Review Committee.

2015 DISD BOND: Oak Cliff Concerned Citizens Question Proposed Demolition of Rosemont Middle School

The 2013 Facilities Condition Report stated that the Rosemont Middle School is in good condition. The Facilities Task Force Report did not recommend demolition of Rosemont. Many parents in the neighborhood want to preserve this historic Preservation Dallas listed school, which is now slated to be demolished. DISD President Eric Cowan, whose daughter coincidentally attends Rosemont,  explained that he walked the building with some parents, and DISD staff. They decided that it needed to be torn-down. Unfortunately, none of those on Cowan’s walk-through were engineers or qualified in any way to make this decision.

Amy Tawil, a Rosemont teacher, says that a gymnasium and a new wing including a science lab would be much less expensive while meeting the needs of the students and preserving the historic Rosemont school building. Replacing the school will cost approximately $41M. Upgrading Rosement would save approximately $30M which could be used for school repairs elsewhere in the district.

2015 DISD BOND: Oak Cliff Resident Amy Tawil Challenges DISD Trustees on No Tax Hike

Oak Cliff resident and DISD teacher Amy Tawil points out that the “no tax increase” pledge is a bait and switch at DISD Bond Oak Cliff Towne Hall Meeting on October 19, 2015 at Kessler Park United Methodist Church. Panel participants included DISD Board President Eric Cowan, Trustees Joyce Foreman and Lou Blackburn, and former DISD Trustees Elizabeth Jones and Jose Plata.

2015 DISD BOND: Questions Persist About DISD Bond Decision-Making Process

DISD Future Facilities Task Force Co-Chair Isaac Faz failed to convince Oak Cliff residents at a town hall meeting that the task force process was transparent, equitable, and that the task force exercised due diligence.The task force did not seek public input.

The Future Facilities Task Force, which met for over one year, was formed to recommend to the Board of Trustees how the DISD Bond funds should be allocated.

Task force members appointed by Mike Miles and representatives of various business interests outnumbered the members appointed by the DISD trustrees – giving the impression that the meetings were rigged to make decisions benefiting special-interests over those of the students and parents.

Faz claimed there were sign-up sheets for the task force meetings, hower there are no task force minutes or sign-up sheets for the meetings according to a DISD public information officer’s response to a Freeedom of Information Act Request.

Faz admitted there were no records of decision-making or votes taken, nor is there any record that the final report was voted on by the task force or by the trustees.

The town hall meeting was held at Oak Cliff DISD Bond Towne Hall Meeting, October 19, 2015, Kessler Park United Methodist Church.

Trustee Nutall says, “Just examine which children win and which children lose!”

DISD District 9 Trustee Bernadette Nutall

DISD District 9 Trustee Bernadette Nutall

DISD District 9 Trustee Bernadette Nutall has announced her opposition to the DISD Bond. She told FACTpac:

I believe in putting the critical needs of our children first. While I welcome a bond package that fairly and equitably addresses the most pressing needs of our children,  this bond draft is woefully inadequate, and further pushes the most needy to the back of the line. More kids are getting shortchanged than are being served. It is always for the kids, just examine which children win and which children lose!

Dallas ISD bond proposal pits needed repairs against new schools

Dallas Morning News – Tawnell D. Hobbs – Oct. 19th, 2015

Tawnell D. Hobbs reviews the controversy over the DISD Bond proposal. In part, the article states:

… some community members and DISD trustees question how decisions were made — and they are concerned about whether enough of the proposed bond package is targeted at fixing older schools.

For example, some campuses would get new wings, even though the district hasn’t conducted a comprehensive review of whether changing attendance boundaries could relieve crowding.

One of the Rosemont Elementary buildings would be replaced even though it’s listed in “good” condition in a district report.

And Pinkston High School would be rebuilt at a proposed cost of $130 million. Yet the current school is only half full.

“Let’s reduce the building of schools in certain areas and repair the schools that currently are being used by our students,” trustee Joyce Foreman implored in a Facebook post.

View the complete story at Dallas Morning News