DISD to create special school for students over 21

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by SHON GABLE

WFAA

Posted on August 12, 2010 at 11:27 PM

Updated Thursday, Aug 12 at 11:36 PM

DALLAS - As families and children across North Texas are getting ready to go back to school, have you as a parent given much thought about who is sitting next to your child in their classroom?

Last year alone, the Dallas Independent School District had 780 students who are considered overage, which means they ranged from 21 to 26-years-old.

Thursday, DISD trustees made steps to change that, proposing a new rule that will no longer allow students over 21 years old to attend regular high schools. Instead, they would have to travel to a new adult high school.

The new age cap is expected to go into effect in two weeks, which is when the board takes its final vote, effectively making it impossible for anyone over 21 to enroll in its district.

So, what does this mean for high school students over the age of 21 that are already enrolled? DISD spokesman Jon Dahlander said those students will attend the brand new John Leslie Patton Jr. Academic Center. The overage school, created back in June, will eliminate huge age gaps between students.

However, Rena Honea, president of the teachers union, questions the district's decision to fund a school, specifically for older students, when support staff raises district wide have been denied and the district is struggling financially. She believes GED programs are more cost efficient.

She said she also has issue with the costs needed to provide flexible schedules, social service advisers, dual-credit classes and partnerships with community groups to help the adult students with jobs and child care.

According to the district, it will cost roughly $2.7 million to run the school, with $500,000 coming from stimulus funds.

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