Dallas ISD Considers Closing Two Elementary Schools, Converting Them to Specialized Campuses

Dallas could shut down two elementary schools to convert their buildings for use in specialized programs in a move to attract families back to the district. Texas public schools have been losing students for years to publicly funded charter schools and private schools. About 33,000 children who live within the Dallas ISD school boundaries are enrolled in a charter school instead of the traditional public schools. So during Thursday's DISD board meeting, administrators recommended closing Sam Houston and Onesimo Hernandez elementaries to convert them into specialized schools that could potentially attract up to 1,400 students, some of whom are not currently enrolled in DISD. The two schools have low enrollment now, officials said, and those students could be absorbed by campuses about a mile away from each. Sam Houston, which has about 200 students, would merge with Esperanza Medrano Elementary School and Hernandez, which has about 310 students, with Maple Lawn Elementary School. The discussion came after administrators showed another projected enrollment decline for the entire district, in large part because of competition with charter schools. Trustees said they've heard from families who don't get into DISD's choice programs in pre-K, and so opt for private school or charters and don't enroll in the district. "A lot of net new kids will show up to DISD if we give them a new Montessori," trustee Dustin Marshall said. It's hard to know just how many families currently not enrolled in DISD schools would opt for the special schools, but Superintendent Michael Hinojosa noted that a number of those seeking spots in other choice programs - namely the Montessori programs - are from external applicants.   Continue reading...

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