A lot of words were spoken at today's joint meeting of the Dallas City Council and Dallas ISD board of trustees. Most were on point, for or against the call to draft a home-rule charter. Some were illuminating. Almost all were delivered with passion. It was, all in all, a remarkable (for City Hall) display of intelligent, engaged adults wrestling with a serious public policy matter.
Then there was Councilman Sheffie Kadane.
"This charter district -- would there be DISD schools in the district?" Kadane asked when his turn to speak arrived.
A reasonable question, perhaps, if it were early March when news of the home-rule push was just being leaked, but this has been consuming headlines for a month-and-a-half now. Kadane had just listened to a two hours of discussion about the ins and outs of home rule and what it might possibly mean for DISD.
"They'd all be in the district," Mayor Mike Rawlings offered.
Kadane still didn't get it.
"So I'd have Bryan Adams in my district, then I'd have a home-rule school?"
The sound of the room suppressing a collective facepalm was almost audible. Kadane didn't notice.
"To do this you've got to get voter approval?" he continued. "So we could actually go through with this and leave it up to the voters?"
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The council, City Attorney Warren Ernst stepped in to explain, isn't "going through" with anything. There's a petition being circulated that, if it reaches the 25,000 or so signatures, will automatically trigger the formation of a 15-member commission (appointed by the school board), which will propose the charter that will ultimately go before voters. That charter would determine how DISD -- even Bryan Adams -- is governed.
Kadane was confused.
"I think we need to learn a little more about home rule, and then I think we need to leave it up to all our constituents to make the decision."
Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.