Dallas ISD

The Dallas ISD school board voted to begin the process of renaming four schools named after Confederate generals Thursday evening.

The discussion was at times contentious, but overall, Dallas Independent School District trustees were unified in their desire to change the names of four schools currently named for Confederate leaders.

The board voted unanimously to require schools named after Albert Sidney Johnson, Robert E. Lee, Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson and William L. Cabell to change their names.

A fifth school, John B. Hood Middle School, changed its name to Piedmont G.L.O.B.A.L. Academy last year. (more…)

 

In East Dallas, the neighborhoods with great schools, walkable streets, and adorable houses tend to be the hottest. One such neighborhood that has seen incredible appreciation is Wilshire Heights. 

“I live in the neighborhood so I’m particularly partial to it,” says David Griffin & Co. Realtor Sam Claussen. “It’s a quiet neighborhood with an active voluntary homeowners association. While there have been some tear-downs in the neighborhood it seems to have maintained much of it’s original charm from when it was initially conceived.”

If that original charm is what you’re after, you can’t do much better than Claussen’s new listing, which has yet to hit the market. It’s our High Caliber Home of the Week sponsored by Lisa Peters at Caliber Home Loans. Plus, if you’re a family looking to get into a great school attendance area, take note! This particular property is in the highly acclaimed Stonewall Jackson Elementary attendance area.  

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By Amy Rose Dobson
Special Contributor

The dramatic entryway is just the beginning for this four-bed, three-and-a-half-bath home in the M Streets neighborhood. As you walk in the front door of 4418 Somerville Ave., the carefully selected design features immediately draw the eye upwards to the impressive chandelier and 22-foot ceilings. The floating staircase is another subtle cue that emphasizes the height of the home while also tying the two levels together with a seamless flow.

 “We worked hard to save that 42-inch oak tree in the front yard,” said Jeff Dworkin, principal at CandysDirt.com Approved Builder JLD Custom Homes. “The home was set back an additional 10 feet to minimize the damage to the tree roots. Gravel with stepping stones was used approaching the door, not concrete, to have a pervious cover.”

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North Stonewall Terrace

We’ve found a completely adorable, carefully renovated East Dallas Tudor for our Thursday Three Hundred and you’re going to be inspired.

Located at 5814 Palm Ln. in North Stonewall Terrace near East Mockingbird Lane and Greenville Avenue, this cottage has all the personality and character of a Tudor built in 1945. But it also has myriad updates making it more functional, safe, and energy efficient. Think all new electrical, new attic furnace, new water heater, new low-E windows, and new plumbing in the kitchen and bathroom.

“The seller is a designer and when she bought the home, it was not in tip top shape but she had a vision,” said listing agent Brittney Warren with Roger Healy and Associates. “She’s put her hands on everything in the home, done it with care, and you can tell.”

This home has two bedrooms, one bathroom, and 1,470 square feet on one story. Bonus: it’s in the Stonewall Jackson Elementary attendance zone, which earns a “10” out of 10 from greatschools.org.

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Nathan adams Elementary is one of three bridge plan schools that got a last minute reprieve today. Seagoville High wasn't so lucky. (Photo courtesy Dallas ISD)

Nathan adams Elementary is one of three bridge plan schools that got a last minute reprieve today. Seagoville High wasn’t so lucky. (Photo courtesy Dallas ISD)

On March 26, 2015, the Dallas Independent School District board of trustees voted 9-0 to approve a bridge plan that would start a first round of renovations for public schools that would culminate in several waves of renovations, provided the district could get a $1.6 billion bond package passed.

That night, trustee Eric Cowan reminded the beneficiaries – Lakewood Elementary and Stonewall Jackson Elementary in particular – that a bond election would be coming because there were many more schools with many, many needs. His vote, he said, would be a leap of faith, an exercise in trust that the supporters of those schools would help get the bond passed.

Fast forward to now and that bond election did indeed pass. But last week, it looked like some of those schools that were prioritized for the bridge plan would have to wait for their renovations. As the news made the rounds, parents began to organize and both District 2 school board candidates sprung into action.

The four schools who faced a longer wait were Lakewood Elementary, Stonewall Jackson Elementary, Nathan Adams Elementary and Seagoville High. 

“I learned last Thursday, May 12th of the recommendation to delay Bridge Plan projects on 4 schools including Lakewood Elementary and Stonewall Jackson,” District 2 candidate Dustin Marshall said on Facebook. “I strongly disagree with this decision made by the administration, and I have been working diligently with several parent leaders to change the outcome of this decision.”

“As someone who spearheaded advocacy in favor of the IBP because of my concern over unsafe and inadequate facilities, I am deeply vested in having the IBP projects move forward in the original timeframe to which the District committed,” Mita Havlick, another candidate, informed her supporters. “No child should have to learn – and no teacher should have to teach – in a classroom that doesn’t meet basic standards for safety and comfort.”

Marshall indicated that he had also been in meetings with current trustees and Dallas ISD administration and had also  “set-up introductory discussions with a third-party construction firm (not involved in the bidding process) to verify that the initial bids are in line with market conditions.”

Havlick’s note indicated that she had been in communication with both chairs of the Lakewood and Stonewall Jackson Site-Based Decision Making committee, as well as “four of the eight current trustees.”

And just this morning, Lakewood Elementary Expansion Foundation supporters were contacting members of the media and sending out bulletins to LEEF members and Lakewood parents to keep them apprised of events as they unfolded.

“Lakewood Elementary’s bids were approximately $3.5M over the allocated $9.47M for construction costs,” LEEF said in a call-to-action distributed this morning. “Note that there were four bidders on the project and therefore we can feel confident that the overages are due to ongoing high construction demand affecting market pricing.”

But almost as quickly as the bulletins were sent out came word that the district had reconsidered its position.

“Although bids for these Bridge projects came in well over budget due to market conditions and other factors, the recommendation is to reject and rebid (the) Seagoville High School addition and go forward with the other elementary school projects, Nathan Adams ES, Lakewood ES, and Stonewall Jackson ES, per the bid evaluations,” Superintendent Michael Hinojosa said in a memo today. The memo also revealed that the Seagoville High School project only received one bid at close to $400 per square foot, which was “significantly higher than current values in the North Texas area.”

Why are the bids coming in so much higher? “The Contractor industry has suggested that the cost overruns are due to an unanticipated large number of attractive projects in the area (a possible bubble of construction activity), a lack of subcontractor labor availability, a lack of material availability (notably concrete), and competition from the private sector that lacks the governmental controls established to protect the District,” Hinojosa wrote in the memo.

The additional funds needed to meet the overages will likely come from remaining 2008 bond funds, Hinojosa proposed. In the meantime, the district will apparently begin working on efforts to market future projects (including the now back-to-the-drawing-board Seagoville High) better by meeting with construction industry organizations and their members.

With the bidding process kicking off for the first tier of schools in the 2015 bond package, this could throw a real monkey wrench in the budgeting process. While nobody at the district has said so, many parents of students in tier 4 and 5 schools, which will not see renovations for quite some time, are worried about whether overages will eat into their respective and worthy projects as well.

More on that later.

                 GetMedia

Sometimes people just get it completely right when they put their home on the market. The updates are spot on, the colors are great and the house has just the right amount of furniture, so it’s not detracting from the architecture but enhancing it. I can tell you after having staged thousands of homes and after trolling through hundreds of homes each day on MLS to find something blog-worthy, that this is not the norm. So it’s more than refreshing when a picture-perfect home pops up on my screen, and 5635 Monticello is just that.

In fact, we’re sure that if we had to measure this home up, we’d get something like this:

Practically Perfect in Every Way

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Is this home not the most classic thing you’ve ever seen? The high pitch of the roof, the arched red-stained door, and the beautiful stone exterior is just full of character. It’s a real delight to look at.

Additionally, this Greenland Hills listing from David Griffin Realtor Robert Kucharski is inside one of Dallas ISD’s highest performing elementary attendance areas and one of the most sought-after feeder patterns. Buy this home and you’ll never need to send your kids to private school with campuses such as Stonewall Jackson Elementary and Woodrow Wilson High School nearby. This, plus the beautiful interiors, are all factors in making it a High-Caliber Home of the Week.

Truly, a home like this doesn’t last long in our market, so you want to be sure you’ve got all your ducks in a row when it comes to financing. Be sure to call Lisa Peters at Caliber Home Loans so you and your family will sail through closing.

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4242 Camden Front

Today we have a very cute Tuesday Two Hundred for you. We’re here in the Dallas Arts District today for the New Cities Summit, and we’ve got urban-oriented living on the brain. This home, which is inside the Montebello Park area of East Dallas is a wonderful family neighborhood that feeds into acclaimed Stonewall Jackson Elementary and is close to a wonderful mass transit center at Mockingbird Station. It’s also close to the shops and restaurants on Greenville Avenue, and would make a great first-time home for newlyweds. In total, it’s a great property for anyone who wants the single-family home lifestyle but doesn’t want to be car dependent.

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