DALLAS -- Dallas ISD's plan to turn around eight failing schools has been rejected by the Texas Education Agency, headed up by former DISD board member Mike Morath.
In a three-page letter sent to DISD, Deputy Commissioner of Governance A.J. Crabill says the TEA does not believe the plans submitted by the district will be sufficient to achieve student performance standards required by the end of the second year of the turn-around plan.
More directly, the TEA wants the Dallas ISD Board of Trustees and Superintendent Michael Hinojosa to undergo governance training as it relates to the turn-around plans and then implement the training.
The letter says failure to agree to the terms presented by the TEA by Nov. 2 will result in either the district board of trustees being dissolved, alternative management for the eight schools, or closures of the schools.
The schools on the list have received an IR ("improvement required") rating for multiple years of unacceptable academic performance, according to the TEA.
The letter to DISD also pointed out direct support for continuation of merit-pay programs for teachers and principals along with Accelerated Campus Excellence or ACE program, which saw six of seven schools removed from IR in one year.
Expansion and continuation of that program was placed in doubt back in August when the board voted 5-to-4 not to advance a tax ratification election to voters in November.
That vote led to a shakeup of leadership on the board of trustees, with removal of Lew Blackburn as president after he cast the deciding vote against the tax-hike election.
TEA Commissioner Mike Morath was a vocal advocate for ACE, and both the Teacher Excellence Initiative (TEI) and Principal Excellence Initiative (PEI) merit pay programs started under former superintendent Mike Miles in 2015.
The letter to DISD, dated Oct. 12, says the "district should expect if TEI, PEI and/or ACE implementation falter they will impact the agency's view of the district's overall turn-around implementation."
The eight schools that submitted turnaround plans include Titche, Carr, Carver, and J.W. Ray elementary schools; and Oliver Wendell Holmes, Cary, Edison and Storey middle schools.
Dallas ISD has a total of 13 campuses that have been "improvement required" for multiple years, with 22 campuses on the IR list overall.