Dallas ISD board blind sided by home-rule petition effort - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Dallas ISD board blind sided by home-rule petition effort

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An effort is underway to change the way Dallas ISD operates.

A group wants to make DISD a home-rule district, which would have DISD operate under a charter, change district leadership and be exempt from select state rules.

That group, Support Our Public Schools, will be collecting signatures on Tuesday at election sites to begin what would be a lengthy road to changing the way DISD operates.

If enough signatures are gathered, the DISD board would be forced to appoint a 15-person commission. That commission would then form a charter under which the district would operate.

By law, the commission has a year to come up with the charter but Support Our Schools wants the proposed charter ready by to make November ballot - when there's high voter turnout. A minimum 25 percent is needed.

Most DISD board members seemed caught off guard by the news, which surfaced over the weekend. Trustees discussed the home-rule proposal at an emergency meeting on Monday.

"Why are we going to home rule charter? Why did you go this route? What did you want to accomplish? Is it White Rock ISD, is it South Dallas ISD? What is our end goal here?" said trustee Bernadette Nutall.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings supports the home-rule effort.

"We are going to have a train wreck if we continue at this pace," Rawlings told FOX4. "We've got to disrupt our school system if we want better education for these kids."

Educators aren't so sure about the home-rule proposal. Rena Honea, of Alliance-AFT, said she and other teachers are skeptical. The group said on Monday they are against the effort.

"Why would our voters and our students and our educators be guinea pigs for this group?" Honea said. "They are not educators and they don't know what it would do for Dallas."

Mike Morath, a DISD board member, is reportedly one of the people with the group Support Our Public Schools, but he did not return phone calls Monday for comment.

A representative of the group attended Monday's board meeting and passed out a statement that concluded: "We are hopeful that the trustees will see this as an opportunity and not a threat."

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