JJ Rhoads Learning Center is one of the schools that will benefit from the DISD bond package (Photo by Bethany Erickson)

JJ Rhoads Learning Center is one of the schools that will benefit from the DISD bond package (Photo by Bethany Erickson)

It’s Election Day, and if you haven’t already voted during early voting, you have until 7 p.m. to find your polling place and cast your ballot for or against several amendments to the state constitution. And there’s also a good chance you’ll be voting about a school bond, too, since both the Highland Park Independent School District and the Dallas Independent School District are both holding bond elections.

And listen, you’ve seen how I’m voting. You know how I feel about voting. And I wrote an earlier story here. You may have even seen several important  discussions about what you may be hearing (erroneously) about the DISD bond vote. So I won’t belabor the point.

But I will say this: See this picture atop the story? That’s JJ Rhoads Learning Center in the Fair Park area. I spend two days a week there, tutoring a wonderful kid. JJ Rhoads is getting a whole new school, one that will allow the school to expand its Pre-K program, something that will only help improve the odds that things improve with the Lincoln High School feeder pattern as children have a better chance to get an early start at the goal of reading at grade level by third grade – something that makes all the difference in so many aspects of a student’s graduation prospects.  Why does JJ Rhoads need a new school? Take a look at this.

Dallas ISD trustees Edwin Flores and Mike Morath explain the proposed bond at a town hall meeting.

Dallas ISD trustees Edwin Flores and Mike Morath explain the proposed bond at a town hall meeting.

If Wednesday’s town hall in North Dallas was typical, trustees spent 60 percent of their time explaining the potential bond election, and 40 percent of their time explaining the superintendent search – despite the fact that the subject matter was prominently advertised.

More on that in a second.

Tomorrow at noon, the Dallas ISD board of trustees will vote on whether to place a bond election on the November 3 ballot. A first round of town hall meetings gave the district the chance to explain the ins and outs of the proposed bond, and a second round will happen to discuss the proposed projects the money raised from the issuance will cover.

It will likely be approved. According to the Dallas Morning News, Board president Eric Cowan and trustees Edwin Flores, Mike Morath, Nancy Bingham, and Dan Micciche have openly stated their support of the bond package. Micciche, in a Facebook post, further stated his position, saying, “I will vote ‘yes.’ We will have more community meetings to discuss the list of proposed projects over the next month if the full Board votes to call for the election.”

Sidebar: I asked a few folks on Twitter if this story would have a better chance of being a) more exciting and b) read all the way through if I included a fire-breathing dragon. So here is a fire-breathing dragon. Read further and there might be a cute kitten.

(more…)

Photo Courtesy DISD

Last March, the Dallas ISD Board of Trustees unanimously approved the bridge fund – a stop-gap measure aimed at taking funds out of the very healthy district surplus to address immediate needs on several campuses. During the debate, more than a couple of trustees said their vote came with a healthy amount of trust – trust that voters would remember their schools when the time came for a bond election.

Well, that time just may be coming. Dallas public schools have upwards of $1.8 billion in needed repairs, upgrades and deferred maintenance that must be addressed. Over the next few weeks, we will take a look at a detailed report of the district’s needs offered in this 2013 report by Parsons Environment & Infrastructure Group Inc.  In the meantime, the district is also conducting a series of town hall meetings to allow voters to educate themselves about the possible bond program, as well as what exactly it will address. You can also poke around on this site to see the various reports the Future Facilities Task Force has made to the board.

The next meeting will be Wednesday, August 19, at 6 p.m. at the North Dallas Chamber of Commerce, 10707 Preston Road, Dallas. Trustees Edwin Flores and Mike Morath will be on hand to answer questions and explain the potential program.