A Trustee is elected to represent their community and the students of DISD. A partnership of this nature is a pass-through to private operators, a loss of elected representation for the students, families and community members. Many believe that if the state has additional funds, the District should be advocating for release of those funds to public schools instead of joining a privatization program.

 

  •  The District is stating, "Not an opportunity for charter schools," but the law and proposed contract make clear DISD will grant a charter to the outside entity, making the school a charter school (i.e. Partnership Charter school vs. Open-Enrollment Charter school).

  • One proposed partner is Mi Escuelita (with four separate contracts), the preschool states on its website and news articles that they are a feeder preschool for Uplift Charter School. The DISD Early Learning Department representative at the Skyline meeting readily admitted this as well. 

 

  • The 2017-18 Early Learning report from DISD notes: Sixty-seven percent of students who attended Dallas ISD PK in 2016-17 returned to Dallas ISD for K in 2017-18, which means that about a third of 2016-17 PK students did not remain in the district in 2017-18. 

  • According to the District this proposal is for ~$6,400 in additional funding per classroom x 22 classrooms, thus creating 10 charter schools, giving local control to 10 independent, non-elected governing boards, approximately 90% of which will go to and be managed by the OP. Yet in November 2018, the District asked and Dallas passed an annual $126 million Tax Ratification Election (TRE) for: 

    • Salary increases

    • Racial equity

    • Early learning

    • Choice schools

 

  •  The statement being made is that nothing will change except more money coming in from the state.  However, the law, ELA (legal) policy, and proposed contracts are clear that, in contrast to today's DISD-controlled arrangement, the Operating Partner (OP) would have full control and authority over the Partnership Charter School.  The OP can choose to contract with DISD to provide certain services and/or keep things the DISD way, but ultimately the OP's board and COO call the shots (see Bryan's House contract, Article 10.02 and 10.03).

  •  The original partnership contracts are for 3 to 10 years. (Update: Final contracts for 3 years).

A brief history and documentation:

Senate Bill 1882 was passed in the last legislative session giving ISDs the option to have outside organizations (open-enrollment charter schools, non-profits, governmental entities and institutes of higher education) operate one or more of their schools.  This is referred to as a Partnership Charter.

 

The law regarding this is in Education Code 11.174.

 

TASB translates the law into plain language and provides a (Legal) version of each policy.  ELA (Legal) is attached here for your reference.  ELA (Local) contains the policy DISD's board would create, if passed on Thursday, with more details around how the law would be implemented locally.  

 

Even without board policy approval, DISD issued a call for proposals December 20. This is the link to the website, and the information there gives more clarity to what is proposed. The district initially sent the CFP to a number of organizations.

https://www.dallasisd.org/Page/57301

Although the administration continues to say that details of who gets what money and how the partnerships will work will be worked out at the time the contract is developed, they did provide some sample contracts from other districts and a contract template.  See attached.