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Majority on Dallas ISD home rule panel want more info before charter vote

Dallas Morning News
January 5, 2015

By Tawnell D. Hobbs

A majority of Dallas ISD home rule commissioners said Monday that they want more information from experts and commission subcommittees before deciding whether to create a charter that could determine how the district is operated and governed.

But a vote will be scheduled for Jan. 20 on whether to create the charter, at the recommendation of commissioner D. Marcus Ranger.

Ranger has proposed a resolution that the commission not adopt a charter and suspend activities until its term expires in June.

Some commissioners signaled they would not support Ranger’s proposal. But they said a vote against it should not be construed as support or opposition for a charter. Some said they simply want more information before deciding.

Commission chairman Bob Weiss questioned whether there will ever be enough information.

“When do we know enough to take an up or down vote?” Weiss asked fellow commissioners. “It could be February if you need some more time, but … I agree with Mr. Ranger that at some point we’re going to vote up or down to do a charter.”

The 15-member commission has spent months listening to community members, education leaders and organizations.

The commission was formed about seven months ago to create a home-rule charter. By law, it has a year to create a charter but isn’t required to. Any proposed charter would need to be approved in an election in which at least 25 percent of voters participate.

The group Support Our Public Schools initiated the 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.