Monday night in Fate, city council reviewed concept plans for a new charter school aiming to educate and house about 100 international students. This follows a previous vote to rezone land for the project that’s surrounded a residential neighborhood for the last decade.
The small town of Fate sits between Rockwall and Royse City. For years, it’s been mostly residential, attracting families looking for a quiet, rural life. But as old’s replaced with new and more rooftops pop up altering the skyline, growing pains set in, bringing development some don’t want.
The charter school is just the latest Pioneer Technology and Arts Academy to pop up in the Dallas area. Two other charter schools by the same name have been opened in Mesquite and Greenville.
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“This is the fastest growing city in Dallas. Rockwall County currently has no charter school, and PTAA will provide the first public middle and high school charter choice for City of Fate and Rockwall County residents,” said Superintendent Shubham Pandey.
Still an opposition group has formed, fighting against one particular part of the plan to include a five story hotel-dorm combo to house about 100 international students and staff.
It would sit just behind the Spring Meadows subdivision, which has caused some concern.
“That’s going to sit directly behind people’s homes, and I think that’s what they’re most upset about. It’s that you’re invading my privacy by having that here,” said Joi Jones who lives nearby.
Jones went on to add that neighbors have spoken out about concerns for increased crime. She also worries her town can’t support a school that boards students.
“It’s Fate. It’s small. There’s really nothing for these kids to do,” said Jones.
City Manager Michael Kovacs said council was split on the decision, but he was optimistic that the school’s plan was the first proposal since the city began a new mission to add more commercial development.
“It’s designed to create a mix of uses and bring up tax values and improve the walkability and the feel of the form of the city,” said Michael Kovacs.
He pointed out that there are challenges in growing a small town.
“Everyone loves living out here. They love the rural feel of Fate. I think just having the development on the highway… I think everyone knew it was coming, but they didn’t know it was coming when they owned their house right here, right now in time,” said Kovacs.
Kovacs said an international school was never part of the city’s development plan, and he foresees some challenges.
“Definitely logistics are going to be tough. We don’t have public transportation. Our city density’s too low. We do partner with the county. Still I think it’s a good spot even though they’ll have some challenges with that, but I think the school’s going to be great,” said Kovacs.
Meanwhile school officials are drafting plans and preparing to open doors in the next couple of years.
PTAA says it invites international students to all of its campuses. For now, they come from China, India and Brazil.
Superintendent Pandey says the primary focus of the program is to help students learn culture, business and language from different countries.
The school also runs private elementary schools under the name Meadow Oaks Academy and Stonebrook Academy. Those have been in the Dallas community for the last 30 years.