"The Most Powerful Pages on the Planet"
October 6, 2008
Volume 1 - No.21
Darwin Campbell, Executive Publisher
A Bi-Weekly Publication
Coalition Battling DISD Gets
Day in Court
That’s what the Parents/Citizens Black Coalition to Maximize Education are demanding when it comes to the Dallas Independent School District’s handling of bond money.
That fact will be addressed at a court hearing Monday at 10:00 a.m. at the George Allen Court Building, 600 Commerce Street in the 68th District Court, Judge Martin Hoffman.
“This is to address the bond money that is being spent in schools that are in the African American community and the Education of African American children,” said Joyce Foreman, civic leader, business entrepreneur and community advocate. “They (DISD) should not be able to get their hands on this money until we know what happened to the shortfall and until the lawsuit in Federal Court has been resolved.”
Foreman said as many teachers, parents and concerned citizens of the DISD are invited to attend the court hearing to show support for the effort to change the DISD.
The hearing is regarding the lawsuit filed in Federal Court by The Black Coalition to Maximize Education, parents, and a former employee of Dallas Independent School District.
The lawsuit, filed with in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, alleges that the Dallas Independent School District continues to discriminate against African-American and lower-income students by providing inferior educational facilities and fewer educational opportunities in predominantly African- American areas of Dallas.
In the documents, plaintiffs state that in many of its schools, the district offers low quality academic programs, equipment, facilities and materials, especially in schools in African-American communities, where many economically disadvantaged and low income Black and Hispanic students live.
According to the report, the DISD has not been able to issue the $1.3 billion dollars in bonds and are working to try and force the courts to allow them access and use of that money for projects..
Also at issue are questions relating to the plans and distribution of bond issues from 2002 and 2008, where $1.3 billion and $1.35 billion respectively were approved, but none of those funds appear to be channeled for improvement projects for schools currently in African-American communities.
The coalition also alleges that district leaders failed to comply with the Texas Open Meeting Act in reference to the 2008 Bond referendum – one that passed without holding public meetings to get input from communities and neighborhoods where DISD schools are located.
The group wants to see educational justice for Black children now drowning in a sea of poor performance scores, excuses and apathy plaguing the district and its leaders.
Much of the frustration with DISD centers on its continued unwillingness to take serious the concerns of parents, students and community leaders about the increasing problems of poor school performance and drop our rates of African-American students.
Others are upset over decisions to close some schools in African-American neighborhoods failing to consider public input, opinion and ideas over how to solve the problems.
The DISD is dealing with major funding issues and a $64 million deficit that caused the district to declare a financial emergency.
Despite calls for an investigation by the Texas Education Agency into the finances of the DISD and calls for the firing of Superintendent Michael Hinojosa, school board trustees instead announce layoff for teachers.
According to Hinojosa, the reduction in force was necessary to avoid a projected $84 million budget deficit for the 2008-09 school year.
“This is a difficult time for everyone affiliated with Dallas ISD, but this is the financially responsible thing to do,” said Hinojosa. “Everyone has worked so hard to improve the quality of education for the students of Dallas ISD, but we cannot continue operating in a manner that is not fiscally responsible to the citizens of this city.”
As a result of the reduction in force, up to 1,100 of the districts 21,295 employees will be released from their positions within the next two weeks, as many as 550 of which will be teachers.
The Parents/Citizens Black Coalition to Maximize Education is hoping that legal action against the DISD will remedy years of discrimination, abuses and negligence that has hurt the education of thousands of African-American children in the DISD.
With the latest blunders of Hinojosa and the DISD, the group also wants justice across the board and serious inquiry and actions that will lead to replacing DISD leaders and giving new life to the district.