DISD home-rule meeting leaves many frustrated - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

DISD home-rule meeting leaves many frustrated

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Several town hall meetings took place in Dallas Thursday night to test the idea of city oversight in Dallas ISD, but many people at the meetings felt they didn't get the answers they were looking for.

At one of the town hall meetings on home-rule, which took place at Preston Royal Library, the room was small, hot and crowded, and there were only about 50 seats, which quickly filled. People were spilling over into the hallway.

If DISD became a home-rule district, DISD would operate under a charter, change district leadership and be exempt from select state rules.

The meeting started out pretty calm and organized with an introduction by Councilwoman Jennifer Staubach Gates and a presentation by State Rep. Jason Villalba.

But things turned about 30 minutes in, with people shouting out questions and making accusations.     

Those in attendance were supposed to write down their questions and then a board member would each answer several of them. The idea was that the meeting would help answer the public's questions about the process of becoming a home-rule district, and what that would ultimately mean.

If a recent petition gets enough votes, the DISD School Board would be forced to appoint a 15-member commission, and that commission would draft a charter.

Then, voters would decide in November if they want the district ruled under that charter. 

"I think we have a lot of room for improvement," said Councilwoman Jennifer Staubach Gates. "And if this is an opportunity to speed up the reform and make some good changes with performance for our students and good outcomes, I'm willing to look at it."

"How do I know what they want, what they are after?" said parent Danae Gutierrez. "How do I know they are not after the $1.6 billion of the district? How do I know they really care about my kids?

Some have speculated that breaking the DISD into smaller districts could be one motivation going to home-rule. But both Gates and Villalba say that is not something they would entertain.

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