FYI Dallas considering move to district-wide charterby Ann Sutherland on 03/07/14
This from the TASB public info office:
Group Surfaces with Initiative to Convert Dallas ISD to Home-Rule Charter
Members of Support Our Public Schools (SOPS), a group that has ostensibly been started to convert Dallas ISD into a home-rule charter school, spoke to the editorial board and reporters at The Dallas Morning News on Thursday, but still have few specific details about the reforms they want to bring to the school.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings has been the one publicly pushing the initiative so far, but declined to provide city council members with additional details at a recent council meeting.
Texas statute allows a public school district to convert into a home-rule charter school, shielding it from various state education laws. Most noticeably, the move could convert governance of a district from a locally-elected school board to an appointed board.
The DMN reports that the two reforms repeatedly cited by the mayor and SOPS board members are an extended school year and longer school days.
DISD Trustee and TASB Director Carla Ranger called the move a “radical assault on the district.” Alliance AFT, the largest Dallas teacher group, has called the proposal a “power grab” and points to class sizes, teacher contracts, and due process as issues in jeopardy if the school were to be converted.
The campaign started Tuesday during primary elections, when the group attempted to get nearly 25,000 voters to sign a petition. There has been no word on the progress made toward that goal. Once the group reaches that threshold, the school board would have to appoint a commission of 15 community members to create the charter that would determine how DISD would be operated and governed.
The commissioner of education would have to approve the charter before it goes to voters, where at least 25 percent, or 123,000 of registered voters in the district, must participate in the balloting. SOPS hopes to get the process done and ready for the November ballot, when turnout is higher.