At the Dallas Independent School District board meeting two weeks ago, the trustees held off on voting yea or nay on Superintendent Michael Hinojosa's plan to open an over-age high school in the 2010-'11 school year. Most agree that, yes, it's probably a very good thing to put, say, college-age high-school students on a separate campus; better that than letting them leave the district without a diploma. Problem is, it's an expensive proposition -- $2 million, a cost district officials had hoped to defray using stimulus money -- and at least one trustee, Bernadette Nutall, would still like to wait-n-see and was this close to killing the thing last month. Right now, according to the district, the fiscal impact on the DISD is still "to be determined."
Sixteen months after the mammoth Over-age Student Success Task Force first began meeting, the item is yet again on the board's briefing agenda this morning. Per the PowerPoint, should trustees stand with the super on this, the school would open in this coming school year and lead, sooner than later, to the "repurposing" of alternative high schools at Otto M. Fridia in the Cedars and Barbara M. Manns on Ervay. Says the briefing, plans for a "true" alternative high school "geared toward the nontraditional student" have been delayed by the failure to agree on the over-age campus. Right now, say district officials, they've got 500 students ready to go -- 500 students who'd otherwise find a way to drift out of the district.
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Incidentally, Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD already has a school -- and a well-regarded one at that -- that offers the very same kind of "accelerated courses and flexible scheduling" DISD's trying to agree upon: the Mary Grimes Education Center.