On 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.
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.
Former DISD President and Trustee Jose Plata says that the current board members supporting the bond issue cannot be trusted, and that for the first time in his life, he is voting against a DISD bond issue.
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.