The price of privilege

Highland Park ISD's expansion plans target the homes of the district's less affluent residents

It just so happens that Edwin L. Cox's home on Beverly Drive in Highland Park occupies slightly more than the 6.5 acres the district's facility committee has determined it needs to build an elementary school.

"You couldn't do that," Hargrave says, seemingly appalled at the suggestion that the district convert Cox's mansion into an elementary school. "Your cost would be enormous, and besides, it would be several blocks from an existing elementary school. It doesn't solve the problem."

Cox's home is valued at a cool $8.6 million on the tax rolls. It probably would cost the school board more to buy his home than to purchase and raze the 20 or 25 much smaller homes that the district is now targeting farther to the north. Cox's home also isn't as close to the neighborhoods where elementary school population growth is expected.

But the Cox site certainly has its charms. And if the facility committee redrew its borders for the new school, Cox's home just might work. The school district would get the benefit of reduced transaction costs and the satisfaction of knowing it had moved only one family instead of two dozen.

Besides, if Cox's place didn't work out, there's always the $8.98-million estate of his neighbor, Harlan Crow, that sits on a spacious 7.96 acres--plenty of room for little rich kids to roam.

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