Mike Rawlings was the first candidate for Dallas mayor to address the Dallas Independent School District when, at the end of March, he unveiled his Education Plan. Said the former Pizza Hut CEO when discussing forming myriad partnerships and alliances with the district, "Some people will say education is not the mayor's responsibility. And technically it's not. But as leaders, we all have a responsibility to act."
Then, last week, council member Ron Natinsky introduced his "Priorities for Dallas," among them getting involved with the DISD. Said his campaign's statement issued immediately following that media gathering at The Cedars Social, "Natinsky has already met with Michael Hinojosa, Dallas ISD's superintendent of schools, and pledges to work in partnership with him and the business community."
Now comes former Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle to the lectern: Late Tuesday his campaign released a lengthy statement in which Kunkle said, first of all, "I believe DISD generally does a better job than it gets credit for," which doesn't mean there aren't some places in which he'd like to get involved. Such as: "I will improve coordination between the City and Dallas ISD in joint public facility planning and utilization including future zoning issues and population trends." And: "I believe our city leaders and staff should meet regularly with DISD officials to discuss ways to improve coordination and communication of our joint efforts." Says Kunkle of the need for the mayor to enroll in the process:
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As your Police Chief, I spoke often of the need to improve our schools because I saw first hand that those who dropped out of school not only had a huge disadvantage in the job market, but that high school dropouts had higher arrest rates, greater involvement in violence, and higher usage of drugs. I often said, "If we don't educate, we will incarcerate." Graduating our kids and ensuring they are ready for college or the workforce must be a top priority not just of our schools, but our city as well. As Police Chief I supported and am a strong believer in after school programs that extend the educational opportunities beyond the regular school hours and provide good programming and a safe environment for our children.