Who knows how seriously the Dallas Independent School District's board of trustees will take the suggestions of the board-appointed Citizens Budget Review Commission -- which, as far as Carla Ranger's concerned, exists in large part to push the super's charter-school agenda. In the end, the commission has no real authority. It exists to pore over the budget, find the waste and excess that exists at 3700 Ross, recommend some cuts here and some retooling there and hope the board's willing to nut up and play Dave Kovic to its Murray Blum as it finds ways to lose $86 to $150 million, best case, from the budget.
And you can play along: Mike MacNaughton of Dallas Friends of Public Education -- and trustee Bruce Parrott's appointee to the commission -- sends word that, why, just this morning he's launched the unofficial "public portal and blog" of the Citizens Budget Review Commission. Writes MacNaughton:
The site is a repository of the documents that Dallas ISD is providing to the Commission Members ...and also provides the data from public suggestions and an interactive Blog that is sure to generate interesting comments and questions. So, tell your friends and family and other concerned taxpayers that you now have a seat at the budget table at DISD -- feast or famine your participation is important!
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The commission meets every Monday and has done so three times so far; the documents section lets you see what they've been looking at and the kinds of questions they've been asking of the district (along with some of the responses). You can also see the more than 140 suggestions the DFPE received since putting out the call in February, among them: "Consider a 9 hour school day instead of a 7 hour school day, but only have school 4 days a week" and "fire all academic coaches" and "stop busing kids that are not handicapped."