Photo: Kyle Renard for School Board, DISD 1

Photo: Kyle Renard for School Board, DISD 1

Late Wednesday night, Kyle Renard did get back to me regarding my question about her stance on charter schools, since it appeared to change. I’m going to print it in its entirety. I still think that it should’ve been mentioned in her response – after all, the question was about charter schools, with no distinction.

I think it was a great opportunity to be open. After all, openness is something we do require of our board members. All it would’ve taken is a, “Hey, I thought it was an interesting concept at one point, but it never got put on the agenda. I know this seems like I’m contradicting myself, but here’s the difference between the thing I liked and the thing I don’t like.” When you do that, you don’t have reporters emailing you about things they find while they’re vetting candidates.

And it seems like something that you’d want to have included in your list of things you’ve been affiliated with. Such open-minded thinking about the potential avenues of learning would bode well for a potential board member, right? So why scrub your name from the website? Why not mention it?

Anywho, here is Renard’s response:


Photo: Kyle Renard for School Board, DISD 1

Photo: Kyle Renard for School Board, DISD 1

Kyle Renard, who is running against Edwin Flores for Dallas ISD Board of Trustees, District 1, wasn’t having a really good day yesterday. Called out by the Dallas Morning News, she then got a few questions from me after I uncovered a few more things while doing my rundown of candidate endorsements last week. In short, I noticed something when reviewing her questionnaire with the Dallas Morning News that stuck in my noggin, but being on deadline, I made a note to figure out why later. And Tuesday was later. First, let me point you to her response to the question, “How do you envision charter schools working within boundaries of DISD?” Renard responded, “We do not need outside charter schools within our system, as we already have all the tools we need for innovation to move our students into 21st century learning. Dallas ISD has the resources and the capability to be the preferred choice for all children and can be the model other schools attempt to emulate. That is my goal and my mission.”

Kyle Renard's name was listed as a board member and supporter as recently as Tuesday afternoon, but was removed early Tuesday night.

Kyle Renard’s name was listed as a board member and supporter as recently as Tuesday afternoon, but was removed early Tuesday night.

Why did this jump out at me? It jumped out at me because as recently as Tuesday, Kyle Renard was listed as a supporter and board member of a potential charter school – the School for Entrepreneurship in the Arts and Sciences. So I asked Renard about it, via email. I asked the following questions:

  • Is your position in the Dallas Morning News questionnaire in conflict with your position as a board member of the School for Entrepreneurship in the Arts and Technology?
  • I noticed your bio was removed from the school website as well. Was this an attempt to deceive, or a sea change in your position regarding charter schools?
  • Also, why was this post not listed in your affiliations on the questionnaire?

Renard responded with this statement:

“I resigned from the board of the School of Entrepreneurship in the Arts and Technology on October 31, 2013. I asked to be removed from the website at that time. If I am still listed somewhere on the site as a board member, that is an error.

I have asked them multiple times to remove me from the website, and I thought that they had done so.  I am sorry if they have not and that this is still causing confusion.
There is no attempt on my part to deceive anyone.  It was not listed on my affiliations as it is no longer active.  This was a concept for an in-district, open-enrollment charter school under Senate Bill 2 from the last legislature.  As far as I know, it has not gained any traction and I’m not sure if the board is still active.
I hope this clarifies the issue.”
I did email her for clarification on when her opinion regarding charter schools changed. At the time of this post, Renard has not replied to that repeated question, which was issued at 4:41 p.m. Tuesday.
What does this all mean? I don’t know. I mean, anyone can change their minds about a topic based on new understanding, and I don’t fault anyone for that. And, fair enough and beyond her control, the webmasters missed a spot when scrubbing her presence from the school’s website. But what is somewhat disingenuous is not mentioning the fact that she was on the board of a potential charter school within DISD when answering a question about charter schools within DISD.
Does Renard owe voters an explanation?

Alcuin 3

Looking for a home near Churchill Way? That area is about to get a whole lot more secure.

 We told you how Alcuin School on Churchill Way offered an olive branch to its neighbors in the form of a private neighborhood patrol that will cost the school $1 million over a ten year commitment period, as well as many concessions relating to traffic mitigation.

All those moves must be a textbook example of How to Work With the Neighborhood: the Dallas City Council this morning approved Alcuin’s zoning request.

The negotiations and compromises have given Alcuin neighborhood  support and respect for its reallocation plans,  from neighbors and from the Dallas City Plan Commission. The Plan Commission voted unanimously last month to pass the school’s rezoning request, recommending a pass to the Dallas City Council.

District 11 plan commissioner Jaynie Schultz said she believes the zoning change and the way Alcuin handled it will ultimately make “our neighborhood stronger and safer together.”

The school,  a private Montessori institution on Churchill Way between Preston Road and Hillcrest Road, wanted to expand its maximum number of upper-school students in its International Baccalaureate program from 35 to 135, and add grades 10 through 12 in high school over the next few years. This will comes after Alcuin ushered  its first freshman class last fall.

Total student enrollment on campus will remain at no more than 700, although the school only has about 550 now. (more…)



LBJ house cranes

There is a stretch of homes built in the early 1960’s just south of Interstate 635, most on slab foundations, running about 1500 to 2500 square feet in size. Built of brick, stone and wood siding, the homes were likely constructed by production builders as affordable starter homes as Dallas stretched. There was no LBJ Freeway behind them when they were built. I try to think back to those days whenever I am stuck in the never-ending story of mess that LBJ has become.

Personally, I don’t think it will ever be finished.

It’s bad enough to drive on it, but what if you lived within ear-shot or eye-shot of that mess? What if your back-yard view was cranes and construction 24/7 (with those super bright night lights) for the last six years? (LBJ re-construction started in 2011.) Pretty bad.

LBJ house 4 (more…)

readingWhen I last wrote, we were waiting word from Harry Stone Montessori as to whether Tiny made the cut. And, well, while he passed the assessments, with hundreds of kids vying for 45 spots, we weren’t horribly shocked when the letter said he did not get in.

I mean, it would’ve been nice, yes. But realistically, we knew the odds were a longshot. Lots of kids apply for very few spots, first and foremost, and secondly, assessing three and a half year olds who are in a completely new environment with a bunch of new friends to make sounds something akin to herding greased, caffeinated kittens through a shopping mall built of catnip.

So what now? (more…)

Photo via ESD's Facebook page

Photo via ESD’s Facebook page

If you’ve been wondering — as we have — why signs regarding a zoning change have been hanging on the fence at Episcopal School of Dallas, you got your answer in the Metro section of the Feb. 24 Dallas Morning News. As David Flick reports, ESD wants to build a new lower school on a 7.6-acre plot south of its Midway Road campus that is currently occupied by single-family houses. That would allow ESD’s youngest students to leave their facility at St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church near Preston Center and be at the same location as all of their older schoolmates.

To absolutely no one’s surprise, some people who live near ESD are not happy about this proposal. Their NIMBY (Not In My Backyard, for the uninitiated) concerns about increased traffic echo those voiced by neighbors of the Alcuin School, where officials are proposing the opposite change: adding high school sophomores, junior, and seniors to a campus that has traditionally served only youngsters.

Today, the Alcuin School’s proposed changes were approved by the Plan Commission. They move on to the full council, so the battle of schools vs. neighbors is far from over.


Alcuin 4

If you live near Churchill Way, your property values are about to go up.

The Alcuin School has pledged $1,000,000 to fund neighborhood security patrols in the neighborhood — $100,000 per year over the next ten years if the ‘hood agrees to a small zoning change.

Why are they doing this? To be nice neighbors. Alcuin (used to be St. Alcuin but they dropped the “Saint” a few years ago) wants to expand its International Baccalaureate program and upper school. To do so, they have filed a zoning application with the City of Dallas. As anyone who has had a child in a private Dallas school knows, competition to get in is fierce and once your child is in, you want to keep them there. Alcuin, like other private Dallas schools, evolved from an elementary program. They now have a high school program known as an International Baccalaureate. It is currently only open to 35 students. The school wants to open it up to 100 more students in grades 10 through 12, for a total upper school body size of 180.

The neighbors are having a fit over this and opposing the re-zoning. Why? They are concerned about the increased traffic this might bring to Churchill Way, which most would like to see maintained as a country-ish road.

Have we heard this story before? NOT IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD! (more…)

Chris Craft House

Really, it’s one of Dallas’ most unique new homes. I’m talking about Ed Murchison’s listing at 22 Vanguard Way, otherwise known as the Chris Craft House, designed by architect Vince Snyder. The home is named after the famous boat company that immortalized hand-crafted wood boats because interlocking wood beams under the home’s long, vaulted ceiling, evoke the feeling of being a ships’ hull. I think the home also looks like a ship from the front. It would make the perfect beach house!

Well, so great is this listing that it got national acclaim from the folks at Curbed last week. I dialed up Diane Cheatham, owner of the home and also developer of the Urban Reserve, who told me the house has been occupied by a tenant but will be soon be vacant. (more…)