Groups opposed to home rule for DISD hold meetings in Dallas

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by BRETT SHIPP

WFAA

Posted on March 27, 2014 at 8:22 PM

Updated Thursday, Mar 27 at 8:22 PM

DALLAS -- Opposition to the proposed home-rule initiative in Dallas ISD continues to organize and grow.

Two meetings were held in Dallas Thursday night; one at the Martin Luther King Community Center in South Dallas, and the other at a Dallas County Schools facility in east Dallas. Both featured University of Texas at Austin researcher and Professor Julian Vasquez Heiling, who has written extensively on his perceived problems with the home rule charter laws in Texas.

The home-rule initiative is being supported the non-profit group called “Support Our Public Schools.” Their goal is to take DISD out from under state control and organize a local system of governance.

It would happen only if five percent of registered voters sign a petition, and then 25 percent of all voters approved a governance charter written by a 15-member commission appointed by DISD Trustees. But opposition is mounting quickly, mostly in southern Dallas where many are suspicious of organizers’ motives and perceived lack of transparency.

At each of the meetings Thursday, Heiling presented a position paper outlining his concerns about the home-rule movement, which he suggests is “a politically-focused 501(c)(4), primarily funded by wealthy individuals [...] hoping to create a home-rule district charter to take control of Dallas ISD."

Heiling's presentation outlined influential individuals roles in the movement and outlined reasons why home rule is not a workable answer to education problems among African Americans.

Home-rule supporters disagree with the opposition, saying taking organizational functions away from the state gives locals more of voice in educational alternatives.

Support Our Public Schools officials have declined to reveal the source of their financial backing.

E-mail bshipp@wfaa.com

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