DALLAS -- Despite an aggressive opposition, the DISD home-rule charter initiative is alive and well and moving forward.

Thursday night, DISD trustees locked in their selections for who will serve on the charter commission, while opponents made a vow to continue their fight.

Three months ago, the petition drive to turn DISD into a home-rule charter was just a fledgling campaign being waged by wealthy, unnamed donors and Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings. Now, after 26,000 collected signatures, a lawsuit and ruling, and another contentious board meeting, trustees have selected the 15-member charter commission charged with drafting a new constitution designed to remove state oversight and bring local control to DISD.

Now that the commission has been selected, its work has to begin soon to meet certain deadlines, but the opposition is nowhere close to giving up. In fact, home-rule critics rallied the troops Friday, calling out Mayor Rawlings in front of the United State Conference of Mayors convention in downtown Dallas.

'Mike Rawlings, Mike Miles, Mike Morath, these people have got to be stopped,' said Juanita Wallace, head of the Dallas chapter of the NAACP.

Home-rule opponents say the mayor's motives have more to do with money than education.

'The objective of all of this is to end up privatizing DISD -- it's to destroy DISD,' said NEA Dallas union representative Diane Birdwell.

Other opposition groups issued statements Friday, mostly in protest of the make-up of the 15-member charter commission.

'Dallas Friends of Public Education is outraged that the trustees apparently placed their personal agendas ahead of the public interest by [...] appointing friends, relatives, and cronies to the commission,' said Michael MacNaughton.

'Six of 15 [commission members] does not translate to even 50 percent representation of Latino population,' said LULAC District 3 President Rene Martinez. 'I am disappointed with your lack of recognition of our demographics.'

The chief supporters of the home-rule push did not respond to WFAA's request for comment.

But thus far, the only sounds appear to be the frustrated voices of opposition.


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