Dallas ISD trustees voted Thursday night not to spend $250,000 to hire an attorney to help navigate the home rule plan. They were considering the move since home rule has never been done by any district in Texas before. Only three trustees voted for it.
The group leading the home rule fight has been campaigning for signatures.
Prior to the vote, the trustees were basically forced into a corner, almost stuck spending the money on a pricey lawyer so that they'd be prepared if the group, Support Our Public Schools, gets the 25,000 signatures it needs to push home rule forward.
Support Our Public Schools has money and troops on the ground, even if the message is still muddied.
Kristen McCracken, a Support Our Public Schools volunteer, chose to spend her Thursday afternoon outside a public library asking strangers to sign a petition involving a school she didn't attend.
“I am paid to do this, but I don't do it because I'm paid to do it,” said McCracken.
The SMU junior from Rowlett says she believes in the cause, even if it's not clear what the goals are.
“A lot of people have told me that we need something obviously very different, because the things in the past haven't been working,” she said.
Critics claim Support Our Public Schools has chosen to stay in the shadows, not giving interviews or explaining its specific message.
Based on its website, the group’s possible plans include starting and ending the school year earlier, creating a custom curriculum tailored to more students, allowing for at-will employees, moving school board elections from May to November to boost voter participation, and possibly appointing school board members with specific expertise.
Nethel Jackson, who opposed hiring an attorney, told the trustees Thursday night that she disagrees with spending $250,000 on legal advice for the home rule debate.
“Board, you was elected to oversee the budget, our superintendent and make good, sound decisions about the taxpayer money...” she said. “This is a waste of money.”
“A lot of people see this $250,000 that could be used in places that are in great need for our students, number one, but I also think the district is being very cautious because this is a possibility,” Rena Honea, President of Alliance AFT.
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