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

“No trust, no bond,” declares Reverend Wright at anti-bond press conference

Reverend Ronald Wright, Reverend Marion Barnett, Dr. Juanita Wallace held a press conference on October 19th in front of DISD headquarters to express their opposition to the DISD bond proposal:

Reverend Ronald Wright heads an organization called Justice Seekers Texas, which is based in far East Dallas. On this bright Monday outside school headquarters, he told reporters he’s not against a bond package, just this one.

Why?

“No trust, no bond,” Wright said, almost chanting. “The bond was never planned. There was never public input.”

Wright said schools in need were ignored, while others — aging landmarks in the African-American community — like Pearl C. Anderson Middle School, were closed. It was shut two years ago.

“So this madness is setting the stage for 21st century segregation,” Wright said.
– Kera.org 

From WFAA coverage of the press conference:

“It’s really sad how certain conditions in the southern sector go unattended,” said Dr. Juanita Wallace. “They want to go ahead and use $1.6 billion to be voted on November 3rd. I say no!”

Critics of the bond package argue the proposed plan offers too many patchwork fixes for campuses like Kimball, Carter, Atwell, and South Oak Cliff High School, to name a few. They say it leaves some community campuses like Pinkston High School in jeopardy of being closed.

Retired teacher and education advocate Bill Betzen mounts campaign against DISD bond proposal

Bill BetzenBill Betzen has created a website and organization to oppose the $1.6 billion DISD bond proposal.

Among many other reasons, Mr. Betzen points out the lack of transparency and accountability in the allocation of the funds. Specifically, he says on his website:

When you ask about the sources for these plans it is repeatedly said they come from the Future Facilities Task Force, members listed here. The members of that Task Force say they never voted on these plans as a group. Apparently there are no minutes available documenting Task Force meetings.  The Task Force also held many other public meetings allegedly seeking input, but there are no minutes or listings of the people who attended those meetings either. Again, there are no records.  The bottom line is that it appears as if all plans came from DISD staff at 3700 Ross, or from other unnamed community sources.

View Mr. Betzen’s website opposing the bond can be viewed here.