Election

Voters lined up at the Oak Lawn library Election Day, with more than 400 people casting ballots by lunchtime (photo by Bethany Erickson)

Frisco, Richardson and Dallas ISD Pass Property Tax Increases

  • Allred bests Sessions in U.S. Rep. District 32 race
  • All four propositions on the ballot for Dallas ISD passed
  • Johnson beats Rinaldi, Johnson beats Luby Ryan
  • Carolyn King Arnold, Keyaira Saunders headed to a runoff

While Democrats came surprisingly (to many) close to winning statewide seats on Election Day, ultimately candidates came just short of besting the Republican party across the board in statewide races. How close were the races, despite the losses? In 16 years, Democratic candidates in statewide races have received 45 percent of the vote only twice — last night, nine of them did.

“Today is not a bad day,” Mike Collier, Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor, said Tuesday night. “We showed Texas that if you campaign on issues that Texans care about, you can have a strong showing in this state.”

But while the “Beto Effect” may not have bestowed a win on its namesake, it was still impacting races, with the El Paso congressman’s get out the vote effort being attributed to down-ballot flips in several congressional, state, and local races.

After record early voting, Election Day polling locations varied from “ghost towns,” as one poll greeter said, to steadily busy. Turnout increased as schools let out, and as people got off work, volunteers said.

Election Day

After a bit of turmoil during early voting, the Lakeside Activity Center in Mesquite was actually calm and congenial Election Day.

Measures for 13-cent Tax Ratification Elections passed in both Richardson ISD and Dallas ISD. Frisco ISD voters approved a 13-cent tax swap that will move 13 cents from the debt service column to the maintenance and operations column.   (more…)

Students from Skyline High School and several other campuses will take part in the Dallas Builders Show. (Courtesy Photos)

From Staff Reports

When it comes to skilled workers, Dallas and North Texas are feeling the pinch. To help generate interest in trade education, the Dallas Builders Association has partnered with Dallas ISD campuses, mentoring students and offering real-life experience through the building trades program. On Nov. 13, more than 100 Dallas ISD students, including the students from Skyline High School’s building trades program, will participate in the Dallas Builders Show.

(more…)

Dallas ISD

(Photo courtesy Dallas ISD)

Choice schools? Magnet schools? Neighborhood schools? What is the best choice for your child? Dallas ISD is aiming to help parents and families navigate those choices with a school shopping event at Fashion Institute Gallery on Nov. 3.

The event, which will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., will allow parents to visit with school personnel as they browse an array of specialty school options, and then even select a school on the spot and apply right there. (more…)

TREIn a bid to reassure voters, Dallas ISD trustees took the unusual move adopting a resolution that pledges to spend the first projected surplus a tax ratification election, or TRE , could produce on specific initiatives, including one that strategically increases employee salaries.

But the move was not without a lot of debate.  

Trustee Audrey Pinkerton put for a proposed resolution that would have the entire projected $126 million the 13-cent tax increase would generate in the first year be earmarked for those pay raises, with the board pledging to support the other three initiatives — racial equity initiatives, expanding school choice, and expanding pre-K.

But trustee Edwin Flores put forth another resolution that would have the board pledging to spend the entire $126 million on all four initiatives.

And yet another version authored by Lew Blackburn, dubbed the “compromise resolution,” combined the language of Pinkerton’s resolution with the language of the Flores resolution.

This was my attempt to marry two fairly similar resolutions,” he said. Flores said his resolution was modeled on the district’s strategic initiatives for the TRE, and said he wanted to align it with the entire presentation regarding the initiatives.

Legally, a current board cannot bind — or make promises for — a future board. But the resolution circumvented that by only committing the funds that would be generated from the TRE in the first year. (more…)

Editor’s Note: On Aug. 16, the Dallas ISD board of trustees voted 7-1 to put a 13-cent Tax Ratification Election (or TRE) on the Nov. 6 ballot. District 7 Trustee Audrey Pinkerton has proposed a resolution regarding the funds garnered from that property tax rate increase, should voters approve it. We asked her to explain it, and she obliged. 

By Audrey Pinkerton
Special Contributor

This Thursday, DISD trustees will vote on a resolution related to the Tax Ratification Election (TRE) on November 6. Here’s why that vote is critical to the future of the district.

By now you’ve probably been told that DISD needs more money. And you may be wondering why since your DISD property tax bill keeps going up. Unfortunately, due to the state’s convoluted school funding system, there’s a big disconnect between what you pay and what DISD gets.

At a series of community meetings in August, Superintendent Hinojosa laid out the case for a tax rate increase: without more state funding, the district won’t be able to cover its costs next year. He showed a 5-year plan to raise the tax rate now, set money aside for future cost increases (primarily to keep up with wage inflation), and borrow from those reserves starting in 2020. It’s a prudent plan that insures financial support for the district without relying on a largely unsupportive state legislature. (more…)

Today is the last day to register to vote, which means in 29 days, nine hours, and 15 minutes, we will all be hitting refresh repeatedly on our computers and/or flipping back and forth between all the TV stations covering the midterm elections.

But something else is on that ballot besides Beto or Ted, Lupe or Greg, and so on and so on. Four ballot measures directly related to how Dallas ISD will be able to continue it’s impressive and monumental spate of improvement will also appear on every Dallasite’s ballot, and we’re betting you’ve only heard of maybe one of them.

And that’s OK. There’s been a lot of information in the past few months, and a lot to digest both public school related and completely unrelated. But we’ll be taking a look at those measures and helping drill down to make sense of them this week so that before you hit the early voting location of your choice, you feel comfortable with your choice of yay or nay. (more…)

Photo courtesy Flickr/Arul Irudayam

Thanks to a new interactive tool, we now know what opportunity looks like in all areas of Dallas. And that tool confirms what many who follow income disparity have known all along — it frequently is manifest most in geography, where decades of policy have wrought pockets of opportunity gaps throughout the city.

The Opportunity Atlas is the result of work done by economist Raj Chetty, his Harvard colleagues, and Census Bureau’s Sonya Porter and Maggie Jones. It uses tax and U.S. Census data to track people’s incomes from one generation to the next.

What it found is that opportunity and income go hand-in-hand, and that in most if not all areas, blocks and neighborhoods don’t magically and suddenly become low income and low opportunity hot spots — they’ve been that way for years.

And more discouraging, children who grew up in those neighborhoods frequently reach adulthood and have families of their own, and make the same low wages their parents did.

“We’re excited that the Census Bureau can provide the public with access to social mobility estimates for the first time through the Opportunity Atlas,” said Ron Jarmin, Deputy Director, and Performing the Non-Exclusive Functions and Duties of the Director of the Census Bureau. “The Atlas has great social significance because no one has ever had access to social mobility estimates at such a granular level.”

The Opportunity Atlas measured average outcomes of Americans by the neighborhood they grew up in. A sample of almost 21 million Americans born between 1978 and 1983 were tacked back to the neighborhoods they were born and raised in, and then income tax returns and census data were used to measure annual earnings.

As part of my research, I looked at the census tracts around three Dallas ISD schools that currently or have had the Improvement Required designation from the Texas Education Agency, meaning that they did not meet state standards. (more…)

Dallas ISD

Neighbors of the long-closed H.S. Thompson Learning Center took to the microphone to demand answers about their school at Thursday night’s Dallas ISD school board meeting.

While it was a fairly tame evening, as far as school board meetings go, Thursday night’s regular Dallas ISD board of trustees meeting was bookended by discussions about the larger responsibility a school district has to the communities schools sit in, especially once those schools are closed.

It began during the portion at the beginning of the meeting set aside for public comment, when adamant and angry neighbors of the now-shuttered H.S. Thompson Learning Center made impassioned pleas for the district to give their neighborhood its school back.

The school was shuttered in 2013 when the district shuttered 10 other schools to save about $12 million dollars. Speakers last night insisted that the district had promised that the school would reopen or would be rebuilt. Several insisted the district had promised the school would be back in their neighborhood in two years.

“Our kids deserve better. We want our schools,” a speaker said. “Everyone else is getting their schools.” (more…)