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Dallas ISD Bond Would Designate $40M for Social Service Centers

The social service centers would be added at four of the district's neediest high school campuses: Lincoln, Pinkston, Roosevelt and Spruce

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Dallas ISD is providing more details on why it is asking voters to approve almost $4 billion in funding later this year. One of the many plans is to build social service centers on four school campuses.

The social service centers would be added at four of the district's neediest high schools: Lincoln, Pinkston, Roosevelt and Spruce. Dallas ISD said $40 million of the bond would go toward the centers.

The principal at James Madison High School said administrators don't necessarily want to be in students' business, but needed to know about things that could keep them from performing at a high level in the classroom.

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"I have a young lady who was in our collegiate academy, her mother was deported, at this point in her education, she was a 'straight A' student," James Madison Principal Marian Willard said. "She's really not thinking about school, she's thinking about her mom."

School leaders said some students are living in homes where drugs are sold, others are hiding on the floor because there's a shooting on their block.

"We do a real good job of preparing the kids for academics, math, science, whatever, but we have to think outside the box now and see what we can do to impact our students when they go home in the neighborhood," said Leslie Williams, deputy chief of racial equity, for Dallas ISD.

He said DISD imagined the social services centers would be places for meals, WiFi, and even healthcare services.

It would be similar to the eye clinic at Texans Can Academies, which ensures students who have trouble reading, don't need glasses.

"The education research throughout the U.S. tells you, you can't focus on just the academics, you have to focus on the whole child," Williams said.

It's an area critics have said traditional public schools have ignored in the past. Willard said that's a mistake.

"A lot of time, you say, 'This is not my business, I'm going to stay out of their business,'" she said. "But if you want them to be a success you have to act like you care about them."

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