Property Tax

(Courtesy the Center for Public Policy Priorities)

Yesterday morning, the Dallas ISD Board of Trustees met for several hours to review next year’s proposed budget.

It ain’t good.

And yes, being able to maintain the great strides the district is making is going to cost money that may only be available through a tax ratification election — meaning superintendent Michael Hinojosa is proposing for the third time (maybe three times is a charm) that the board consider sending a 13 cent property tax increase to the voters come November.

I mean, you can only cut so much before you have, as Hinojosa said yesterday, cut your way to the bottom.

It’ll be an uphill climb. People will blame the district. People will ask what the heck the district does with all its money, and how it can afford to open new schools and start a transportation department and still apparently poor mouth the taxpayers.

So let’s talk about that. (more…)

NAEPDepending on who you talk to, Texas’s score on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, was either better than expected, flat, or horrible.

Often referred to as “the nation’s report card,” the NAEP assesses a sampling of fourth and eighth graders every two years. Roughly 7,500 students in Texas participated in the 2017 NAEP.

“NAEP scores offer something rare in education policy: data that are standardized across states and across time,” the Urban Institute explains. (more…)


Dade Middle School principal Tracie Washington, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, Urban Specialists CEO Omar Jahwar listen to Dallas ISD trustee Bernadette Nutall talk about Dade’s successes (Photo by Bethany Erickson).

Embattled U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos made a surprise visit to the Dallas-Fort Worth area Thursday — so surprising that it wasn’t even on her public schedule.

Not everyone was thrilled about it, though. DeVos visited Urban Specialists (a privately funded group partly funded by Stand Together, which funded by the Charles Koch-led Seminar Network), Billy Earl Dade Middle School, and 16 Streets Center.  She began the day in North Richland Hills’ Birdville ISD. (more…)


Students check out summer camps at last year’s Dallas ISD PREP U Discover Summer Resource Fair. This year’s fair will be held next Saturday, at Conrad High (photo courtesy Dallas ISD).

If you’re like most parents, June is looming large on your calendar. Choosing summer activities for a school-aged child can be a difficult needle to thread — there’s timing involved, financial commitments and well, your work schedule, too.

Dallas ISD began offering summer camp offerings — in addition to the usual summer school fare we’re all familiar with — a couple of years ago. All manner of STEM, art, and other activities are offered as way for students to not only get some enrichment activities in to help bridge over the summer, but also to help them find new interests and hobbies. (more…)


The Innovation, Design Entrepreneurship Academy (or IDEA) at Fannin (photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons).

After what the district is terming a “health incident” at the Innovation, Design, Entrepreneurship Academy (or IDEA) at James Fannin on Friday, miscommunications seemed to be rife as more than one person reached out to say that a student at the school had full-blown tuberculosis.

IDEA is high school housed in the former James Fannin Elementary building. It offers personalized learning, combined with mentorship and restorative discipline practices. It began in the 2015-2016 school year with ninth graders, and added a grade level each year. Its first graduating class will be next year.

Tuberculosis is spread through the air from person to person when an infected person coughs, sneezes, laughs “or anything else that causes germs to become airborne,” the Dallas County Health and Human Services Department FAQ sheet explains. “TB is not spread by casual contact such as shaking or holding someone’s hand, hugging, kissing, sharing food or drink or sharing items with another person.”

Sources told that a student had coughed up blood on Friday, and was hospitalized over the weekend. By Monday morning, some had heard the student had been diagnosed with tuberculosis.

However, Dallas ISD news and information director Robyn Harris said that while there was a health incident at the school, the student was not actually diagnosed with tuberculosis. (more…)

Dallas ISD

Dallas ISD Chief of School Leadership Stephanie Elizalde and ACE executive director Jolee Healey update the board of trustees Thursday night.

It was a busy and productive monthly meeting of the Dallas ISD board of trustees Thursday evening, with much of the night centered on the creation of two new choice schools and an update on the Accelerating Campus Excellence program.

The district’s ACE program has been partly responsible for the turnaround of several Improvement Required and/or at-risk campuses. Its results have been so impressive that other districts are beginning to adopt the strategy as well.

“The ACE model is being replicated in districts around the Dallas area, including Plano and Richardson,” Chief of School Leadership Stephanie Elizalde told trustees.

“We’ve gone from 43 Improvement Required schools to 13,” she added, saying that much of that can be attributed to Dallas ISD‘s ACE program and to the district’s Intensive Support Network. (more…)

(Photo courtesy PIxabay)After the shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, last week, Dallas ISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa used time at Thursday evening’s school board meeting that is usually reserved for him to update the school board on district events and happenings to talk about the impact these incidents has on schools locally. (more…)


(Photo courtesy Dallas County Schools)

As the committee charged with unspooling and winding down operations for Dallas County Schools continues to churn along, Dallas Independent School District is also getting its ducks — or rather, buses — in a row.

At last week’s board briefing, trustees were introduced to the district’s new executive director of transportation, Dr. Kayne Smith, who arrives in Dallas from a stint at Beaumont ISD. (more…)