The headline says it all. But this missive, which we just received from Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson's office concerning the fight over funding at Dallas Independent School District's magnet schools and learning centers, says it better. Certainly, longer.
Update at 5:15 p.m.: As the DISD board of trustees is due to begin its called meeting shortly, I asked district spokesman Jon Dahlander whether or not the board will heed Johnson's request to delay tonight's vote. At the moment, it's unclear. "The board has been meeting in their board briefing all day," he says. "I don't even know if they have received this."
I remain greatly concerned about the status of funding for Dallas ISD Learning Centers and Magnet Schools. Over the past weeks, I've been in close contact with the Department of Education, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and Superintendent Michael Hinojosa regarding potential funding cuts within the Magnet Schools and Learning Centers. In
particular, there are outstanding questions as to whether or not the Learning Center programs may gain a waiver from being required to meet comparable funding requirements.
All Title I schools must meet comparability requirements in order to receive Title I funding. If Dallas ISD is found to be in violation it could potentially lose Title I funding, which is approximately $105 million.
The Department of Education and the Texas Education Agency are closely reviewing all of Dallas ISD's comparability numbers in order to determine what, if any, funding cuts need to be made. Dallas ISD has been working hard to get TEA all the necessary data, but it is my understanding from TEA and the Department of Education that there is still outstanding data that it needs to review. The Department of Education will not be able to give a determination until they can review all of this information.
Based on these circumstances, I have called on Dallas ISD Board of Trustees President Jack Lowe to delay tonight's vote on the budgetary measures that will result in funding and staff cuts for the Learning Centers and Magnets. While I understand the need to plan for next year and reposition staff, I also believe that final determinations from TEA and the Department of Education are integral to this funding decision. We should not make cuts to these schools and programs until we know what is required under law. I have been assured that the Department of Education will make a prompt determination once it has the necessary data, so I do not advocate a lengthy delay to this vote.
It is my hope that the Board of Trustees will take this under advisement, and I will continue to do my part in working with the Department of Education to receive an answer on what funding cuts may be necessary in a timely manner. I will continue to work with Dallas ISD to get the best possible result for our schools."