'White Rock ISD?' Former state rep proposes possible split from DISD

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by CARLA WADE

Bio | Email | Follow: @CarlaNWade

WFAA

Posted on October 31, 2013 at 8:31 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 31 at 8:31 PM

DALLAS -- A former state representative is leading the charge for White Rock ISD, a potential new school district that would include schools in Lakewood and White Rock.

Former State Rep. Allen Vaught created a Facebook page over the weekend and titled it "White Rock ISD." So far, it has generated more than 800 “likes” in less than a week.

It was created "to advance a discussion about whether the area surrounding White Rock Lake in Dallas, Texas should have its own school district independent from the DISD."

"A lot of people don’t know they have options," Vaught said. "A lot of people think, 'Well, I can stay here and put up with DISD, or I can move.'"

Vaught’s own two kids attend private school right now, but he plans for them to attend Woodrow Wilson High School when they get older.

Considered one of the best schools in the Dallas Independent School District, Lakewood Elementary is a school many East Dallas parents have chosen over private school. Some parents News 8 spoke with outside the school on Thursday afternoon were not familiar with Vaught's page, but one parent said she had heard the idea mentioned somewhere before.

"If they can create a district that is pro-kids, pro-parents, and not full of bureaucracy and politics," she said, "then that could be a good idea."

DISD teacher Elizabeth Dry says the district is full of bureaucracy and politics because of its size. She oversees many after-school projects and community projects in the White Rock Lake area, including the Promise of Peace Community Garden. She thinks smaller could be better.

"Sometimes when you have something smaller, you can be more directly supportive and allocate resources more to the targeted need," Dry said, "which would be our students."

State law does allow for the creation of a new school district within an existing one, but it's not easy to do.
A new district must have at least 8,000 students within an area bigger than nine square miles. It would have to be approved either by Dallas ISD trustees or Dallas County commissioners.

Then, a proposal would have to go to voters. It needs a majority to pass and at least 25 percent of registered voters in the new and remaining district must vote.

"It's a tough measure. It’s probably is a drastic measure, but something has to be done," Vaught said. "People pay a lot of money in taxes and a lot of people feel like for what they are paying, DISD is not being responsive."

Vaught hopes to get at least 2,000 "likes" on his Facebook page and then perhaps hold a public meeting that could get the ball rolling on what he said, for now, is just an idea.

District 6 Trustee Mike Morath represents the area that encompasses Lakewood. He said in an e-mail that he has brainstormed an idea for the concept of an "enterprise zone" with some community members and staff who expressed an interest.

It would be something like creating a charter district. The schools would still be tied to DISD, but might have their own board of trustees and superintendent.

Morath emphasized that the concept is in way too early of a stage to discuss in any detail.

In any case, he said he does not think it’s possible that schools leave DISD to form a new district.

“Regardless what direction the community wants to take this, I have a responsibility to 160,000 students, not just those in my electoral area,” Morath wrote. “So I’d want any effort to have a reasonable chance of helping them all, or at the very least, not setting any back.”

E-mail cwade@wfaa.com

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