Dallas City Council Members Monday received a request from a school trustee to limit the number of charter schools in the city.
Dallas Independent School District Trustee Joyce Foreman was invited to speak at a City Council Committee by Chairman Casey Thomas.
Foreman delivered a briefing that shows 14 percent of 233,687 school age children in Dallas now attend charter schools, taking away per pupil state funding that could go to the public school district.
The Dallas ISD figures show test scores and other performance measures are improving in the public school district, but enrollment is still declining, largely due to charter schools.
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She said several of the charter schools are located on busy freeways instead of neighborhood streets.
“I would ask that there be a moratorium,” Foreman said. “I want them to do a study but I want a moratorium on charter schools in my area because there’s an over proliferation of charters.”
Councilman Philip Kingston said the city already has grounds to reject future charter schools' Special Use Permit applications. He claims the money charter schools drain from public schools make charters a threat to the public good.
“On average, just your random selection of public versus charter schools, public schools work better,” Kingston said. “People in Dallas don’t believe that.”
Councilman Mark Clayton, a public school parent himself, said Dallas ISD needs to do a better job of selling its good points.
“As schools are getting better, we’re still losing. We’re still getting kids going to charters,” Clayton said. “It’s old versus new.”
Clayton said in many cases the newer charter schools look more appealing to parents.
The City Council Committee gave Foreman a positive response about cooperation in boosting Dallas public schools.
Committee Chairman Thomas instructed city staff to investigate the request for zoning control limits on more charter schools and said Foreman would be included on the issue.
“I look forward to us having regular meetings,” Thomas said.
A representative of one of the largest Dallas charter operators, Uplift Education, declined comment on the new request.
Executives with Faith Family Academy, another large charter operator, were out of town and unavailable Monday.