property taxAlmost a year after voters approved a 13-cent property tax hike in a Tax Ratification Election, the Dallas ISD board of trustees will discuss reducing the rate this Thursday.

In November, voters approved raising the rate from $1.04 to $1.17, the first increase since 2008. The agenda for Thursday’s regular meeting includes discussion of reducing the rate to about $1.06 per $100 valuation. 

Specifically, the measure would set the maintenance and operation tax rate at $1.068350, and the debt service tax rate at 242035 cents, which winds up being about $1.31 per $100 valuation, a 3.26 percent decrease in the total tax rate.

“We appreciate the tax payers helping us out when we needed you and the state leg. for finance reform,” said trustee Miguel Solis on Twitter. “Proud to lower those taxes.”

In May, the Texas legislature passed sweeping education funding reform, which was signed by Gov. Greg Abbott with much pomp and circumstance. All 139 House members and all 30 state senators voted to approve House Bill 3, which included $6.5 billion in public education funding and teacher pay increases, and $5.1 billion to lower school district taxes. (more…)

Chapel Hill

Photo courtesy Teaching Trust

The 2019 school accountability scores were issued by the Texas Education Agency this week (more on that next week), just in time for this week’s School + House, where we head to the one Dallas ISD school in Farmers Branch — Chapel Hill Preparatory. 

Full disclosure — we’re a newly-minted Chapel Hill family. But what excited us about the school — its emphasis on social and emotional learning combined with a new approach to academics — is what also makes it a somewhat hidden gem in the area.

And lo and behold, this year’s scores revealed that not only did the school meet state standards, but it also got four of six possible distinctions.

The school, which was formerly named Cabell Elementary, was renamed in 2018 after the area surrounding it, which is informally called Chapel Hill. 

A quick tour of the school (we’ve had a few by now) shows some of the things that make it stand out — a quiet room for meditation and calming down (complete with a fountain and yoga mats), another room for “heavy work” that can help calm and center stressed students, flexible seating in every classroom (including stationary bike desks in some classrooms), bright and cheerful layouts and design, and plenty of gardens for learning opportunities are just a few of the things you might not expect when someone tells you about a Dallas ISD school.  (more…)

This is a head-turner, folks! We are talking archways, penny tile, and exposed brick. Floating shelves in the kitchen and a backyard oasis that will have you throwing parties all year long. In fact, there is so much to love and so little time, we will get right to it. It’s a Friday Four Hundred you can’t afford to miss!

Hollywood Heights Tudor Goes Modern

“It is one of the only homes in Hollywood that is a blend of naturalist minimalist with a Tudor flare,” says listing agent, Cliff Kessler with Allie Beth Allman and Associates. “The arched interior wall openings and original Tudor accents make it special.”

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If you’re looking for a Dallas high-rise home so you can get as far off the ground as possible, be prepared to shell out big bucks or live in close quarters. 

In parts one and two, I outlined how Dallas has relatively few high-rise listings, and because of a lack of new high-rise construction, Dallas isn’t going to have a lot more buildings anytime soon. In this final installment, I break the 133 active units and 11 units under contract and analyze them by what floors they’re on. 

The distribution under the 20th floor is fairly even between 21 and 29 units in each category. For those interested in units above the 20th floor, inventory drops off because a lot of high-rises are under that height overall. Once you’re into the 30s, you’re pretty much at Museum Tower, which might be out of your price range.

But even more than height, the most important buyer criteria revolves around the unit size and overall cost (mortgage, HOA dues, insurance, and taxes). A studio on the 20th floor doesn’t help someone looking for a two-bedroom unit.

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Ben Caballero with HomesUSA has listed 1755 Prescott Pass Place for $546,473.

Whether you are searching for a family home or are a first-time buyer, Farmers Branch has a place for you. And this week we are putting the spotlight on three open houses that are sure to please. Tour them this weekend and tell us which is your favorite.

The Starter Home

Open House: Sunday, August 18, 2 to 4 p.m.

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By Barbara Dewberry
Guest Contributor
 
Last week in a CandysDirt.com column, Jon Anderson stated in reference to the Jennifer Gates called community meeting on August 7th that I said that, “the neighborhood doesn’t want green space.
 
In fact, I said “We don’t want a public park,” and many people heard this.  The four acres that are proposed to be developed is too small to dedicate land to a public park and also the City has said they will not maintain it.  Thus, to have a park that outsiders will discover and have picnics, kiddie birthdays, and bring dogs and not pick up, will be an invasion into our now quiet neighborhood.  It will be very expensive to maintain.
 
I have always advocated green space around the buildings like that of the Preston Tower and the Athena which allows permeable space, which will be helpful in stopping run-off flooding.  PD-15 is experiencing flooding already and this needs to be addressed before anything is built.  I, with our neighbors, have demanded a 100-foot setback for any buildings facing South toward NW Hwy.  This would allow for more green space, guest parking and save several vintage Live Oak trees.  Our small 4 acres to be developed is not large enough to dedicate 1/3 acre to a park.  Besides, there is a lovely park at Hillcrest and W. NW Hwy.  Also I have always championed green roofs on any buildings that are built in PD- 15. We are demanding for a right in and right out opening to be made in the Pink Wall so that construction vehicles will not be wandering around decimating streets we own and breaking tree limbs.
 
The proposed park is just another device that the developers use to get additional height and density which the neighborhood is against.
 

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 Historic Spanish Colonial

There are homes in my Hollywood Heights neighborhood that we all keep an eye on. That’s because we secretly long to own them. I’d venture to say pretty much everyone I know has lusted after this historic Spanish Colonial at 918 Valencia. The charming 1938 white stucco home trimmed in blue could just as easily be on Ibiza or in one of the white villages of Cadiz and Malaga. It’s that authentic.
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East Dallas RanchRemember when you were a kid and you’d go to visit your grandparents’ and it was always 15 degrees warmer inside, but it was so cozy and quaint and life was just better there? Like those people never had to go to school or work and you thought, “How do I get this gig?” Well, Squirt, you can’t get that gig until you retire, so keep working, nose to the grindstone and all that jazz.

In the meantime, if you want to live in a house like that – cozy and comfortable, with or without the furnace on blast – check out 10633 Cayuga Drive. See? Even the address is quaint. Three and five numbered addresses are the best. Four digits are so lame. JK JK, everything’s great and awesome and we all get a gold star.

It’s really the exterior of 10633 Cayuga Drive that gets you, and immediately kicks off the craving for hard candy from an etched glass dish.

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