Oak Cliff

Currently in the middle of a complete remodel and upgrade, South Oak Cliff High defied expectations this year and actually increased enrollment (photo courtesy Dallas ISD)

Just a few scant years ago, saying you were buying a house in Oak Cliff would elicit what some called the “Oak Cliff Oh,” as if moving to the area required a thoughtful, tactful response. But times have changed.

And perhaps one of the biggest success stories in Oak Cliff is the public school choices available there. For instance, take South Oak Cliff High. Almost two years ago, the community banded together to demand that the school building reflect the school’s successes. Now, as the students reported in August to temporary quarters at Village Fair School, the 70-year-old building they fought for is now being renovated and improved.

But even more important is its increased popularity. Dallas ISD reported last week that the school’s fall enrollment jumped from 1,096 last school year to 1,322 — a 200-student increase. It’s also significantly higher than the district’s projected enrollment of 963 students. (more…)

Photo courtesy Blue Diamond Gallery.

Photo courtesy Blue Diamond Gallery.

In our third installment looking at the Dallas Independent School District’s school board election, we will be looking at District 5, which includes Oak Lawn, Wilmer, West Dallas, Hutchins and parts of east Oak Cliff. Incumbent Lew Blackburn, Marquis Hawkins, and Linda Wilkerson-Wynn are running.

One of the highest-profile issues facing District 5 right now is the condition of South Oak Cliff High, and where it will fall in the tiered system that determines when schools tapped to receive bond money for repairs, improvements or replacement – as well as whether repairs and improvements are enough for the aging structure that is, much like many other schools in the district, suffering from years of deferred maintenance.

And just as a reminder, I am breaking down each race and assigning a mathematical value to key endorsements for a final score. Because of the volume of candidates, I’ll be featuring one race a day through Sunday. Early voting begins Monday and lasts until May 3, with Election Day on May 7. For information on early voting, click here.

The scoring system goes a little something like this: Experience, I think, should be given some weight. So it is assigned a number value of one. Endorsements should matter too, so each one those are also given a value of 1. I considered six sets of endorsements in this system, largely because the organizations providing them have a regular history of endorsing candidates. Those endorsements are The Dallas Morning News, Dallas Kids First, Educate Dallas, the NEA, Alliance AFT, and The Real Estate Council PAC.

In this race, Educate Dallas did not endorse a candidate, so there will be a possible score of 6 (DMN, DKF, Alliance AFT, NEA, TREC and incumbent). (more…)