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Dallas ISD home-rule commission to continue discussing whether to create charter today

Dallas Morning News
January 5, 2015

By Tawnell D. Hobbs

The Dallas ISD home-rule commission will continue discussing whether to write a charter that could determine how the district is operated and governed at a meeting today.

Commission chair Bob Weiss said he’s hoping to get a sense of direction from fellow commissioners at the meeting. He said that he expects the commission will vote on whether to create a charter at its Jan. 20 meeting.

“I’m very pleased where we are in the process,” Weiss said. “It’s never been done before. It’s complicated.”

If the commission decides to create a charter, voters would need to approve it in an election with at least a 25 percent turnout. A voter turnout of at least 20 percent would be required to amend the charter.

The 15-member commission was formed about six months ago to create a home-rule charter. The commission’s term lasts one year and will end in June.

The group Support Our Public Schools initiated the home-rule process and obtained enough signatures to require trustees to appoint the commission. The Dallas effort is the first use of a 1995 state law that allows a voter-approved charter for a school district.

Commissioners have spent months gathering information, which included listening to community members, education leaders, DISD trustees, Superintendent Mike Miles and various organizations.

Commissioner D. Marcus Ranger has proposed a resolution that the commission not adopt a charter and suspend activities until its term expires in June. Most of the members have not stated what they’d like to do, but some have said they would like to continue the discussion to find ways to improve DISD. Others have mentioned making recommendations to the school board instead of doing a charter.

The Home-Rule Charter Commission meeting starts at 6 p.m. today at DISD headquarters, 3700 Ross Ave. in Dallas.