Dallas ISD faces a fresh financial imbroglio: this time for its magnet schools and learning centers. While many are blaming the school district for wanting to reduce funding to the special facilities, the school district is pointing the finger at the Texas Education Agency. It informed the district recently that it must make all of its schools receive equal funding or else lose $105 million in Title 1 funding.
Unfortunately, Dallas’ charter and learning center programs are receiving far more than the limit, meanings cuts will be necessary.
The district has apparently been “inaccurately” filling out accounting reports (i.e., omitting figures from its specialized schools), causing the agency to miss that tiny infraction.
Though the district learned of the necessary cuts in early April, it has been putting off a vote on action for the matter until an official date of May 15.
The worst part is that Dallas’ learning centers will take the brunt of the cuts. The learning centers, created in the 1980’s to promote desegregation, currently receive more funding and have a smaller teacher-to-pupil ratio than surrounding schools.
However, without the extra funding, they would likely not be able to continue their “special programs with educational concepts different from those in other schools in the district.”
Many are concerned that the quality of education and opportunities at the schools will flounder if funding recedes, but most learning centers are already underperforming. Though it’s sad that programs will have to be cut, it’s even sadder that the centers haven’t used their extra funding to increase their performance.
Many also worry that the district has somehow secretly wanted to cut the programs all along and could possibly avoid the measure. Unfortunately, it’s pretty difficult to get out of a TEA mandate. Unless of course Carla Ranger can pull a waiver out of her hat.
Holly LaFon has written and worked for various local publications including D Magazine and Examiner.