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Have Questions About Home-Rule Effort? Ask Them Here.

We’ve talked about the effort behind making DISD a home-rule district for the past couple of days. I’ve got some questions. I’m guessing you do, too. Here’s your chance to get them answered.

On Thursday, D Magazine’s leadership group D Academy (a group of 23 people who meet monthly to discuss various topics impacting Dallas) is meeting for its education class day. A month ago, I asked DISD board member Mike Morath, Alliance/AFT’s president Rena Honea, and Commit’s chief strategy officer and co-COO Tarik Ward to sit on a panel to discuss the state of DISD. I asked Eric Celeste to moderate. I know Eric has plenty of questions he’d like to ask, but I wanted to open it up to see if you had any. If you were there on Thursday, what would you ask the panel? Tell me in the comments. I’ll pass them along. And I’ll report back on the discussion next week.

  • Joe

    Is home rule the only way to expand the school year?
    What happens if we vote down the proposed charter?

  • gimmethewooby

    If home rule is passed, would DISD continue to have its same footprint and size? Or would it be divided into two or more smaller districts?

  • Joe

    Who sets policy in a home rule district? How often and how are those people replaced?

  • shadow

    How do you reconcile a public school system funded with tax money that is not operated by elected representatives? Isn’t there a constitutional issue there somewhere?

  • Eric Celeste

    Pretty sure the answer is yes to the first question, and that’s because of current state law that mandates the start of the school year as 4th Monday in August. (Many charter schools start three-four weeks earlier.) It also has to do with the timing of mandated end-of-year testing, which I don’t think can change. But I’ll ask folks to expand on that.

  • Eric Celeste

    Is this Joe Tone? Pretty sure that depends on what the charter commission decides should be put up for vote. For example, I’m in favor of a rule that — if you keep Board members in control — triggers new elections if district-wide goals aren’t met. They currently have no accountability except to election cycles. I know some folks favor the city be placed in control, but a commission would debate this and make a recommendation to voters. But I’ll ask.

  • Eric Celeste

    No one is saying that would be the case. The system proposed could be very similar to the current one. Or it could be run by the board and overseen by the mayor. Or whatever. Or whatever. All those people are elected. But I will get more details out of folks about this.

  • Eric Celeste

    Good question.

  • Eric Celeste

    Spoiler alert: My beard has acquired more grey than the above photo suggests.

  • Eric Celeste

    DM @Knightengale: Where is this again? And what time? DM me back.

  • DallasParent

    2 against 1…fair and balanced.

  • DallasParent

    Is there not a way to change state law so that DISD or all school districts could start the school year sooner or extend the school year?

  • Posh Spice

    1. Why was the PR build up for the petition so horrible? Ineptitude or because they wanted to keep it quiet?
    2. Do all of the home rule leaders have the same agenda?
    3. How can Mayor Mike know enough about the initiative to support it? Or does he not care about details b/c he’s not running again?
    4. Is this effort partly or fully about monetizing untapped value in DISD? Are the leaders wanna-be robber barons who want to access to DISD’s enormous real estate portfolio, pension and budget? Is this about rooting out inefficiencies?

  • Knightengale

    As I said, this panel was planned a month ago. I didn’t know about this home-rule effort at the time. I wanted to ensure I had a board member, a union member, and an education nonprofit represented. Eric as a moderator makes the most sense for this panel because he knows the issues and can facilitate conversation well.

  • Eric Celeste

    I’ll ask all these, but for this forum, here are my answers: 1.Keep it quiet. 2. Same and different. 3. Mike was briefed long ago. He is the mayor, after all. 4.No, that’s silly.

  • Eric Celeste

    Sorry, first part silly. Last part, you’re getting warmer.

  • Posh Spice

    Eric, there is a lot of money to be made in rooting out inefficiencies. I have no doubt some of this group want to do what’s best for DISD. I also have not doubt that some in this group see it as a good business opportunity first and foremost. I guess in my mind I have to evaluate the proposed changes vs. the patronage goals.

  • Posh Spice

    Two more questions, then I’ll hang up and listen.

    1. Could this initiative lead to breaking up DISD into smaller, more manageable districts?
    2. Why the hell did you and Jim agree to quit working on the radio? Get back your show back pronto!

  • Eric Celeste

    I think that’s totally fair. I think that the first step to doing that is overcoming the large burden of getting 25k sigs so that voters can do just that. Because if a commission puts together a series of suggested changes that don’t pass the smell test — if we don’t think they’ll make our school district better — then we can reject them.

  • Eric Celeste

    1. That’s a great question. I’ll ask it.

    2. That was Jim’s call. You think my ego would let me stop doing anything that involves a microphone?

  • Posh Spice

    1. Smaller, “local” districts would sell the deal to voters
    2. You don’t need the old man as co-host, but you do need, a) reliable broadcasting equipment and, b) guests/sources beyond Hunt, Kingston, Griggs and Merten.

  • DallasParent

    I appreciate that you are even addressing this issue. We know Mr. Morath is in favor and that Ms. Honea is not. Commit will be bringing the statistics to back up Mr. Morath’s arguments, but Ms. Honea is out on a limb by herself. I’m not even even saying you should add another person that has the same position as Ms. Honea, but someone else who could speak to the possible cons, maybe from a non-teacher perspective, would be helpful and lend some credibility to the discussion. I know the timing is short, but this is a matter of enormous importance, so if you are not able to find someone in time for Thursday, I hope that you will continue the conversation and to press those who support this to make clear what exactly it is they are asking voters to support. Thank you.