DISD accused of misusing low-income school money

A former Dallas ISD teacher is accusing the district of taking money from low-income schools and funneling it to other projects.

Bill Betzen is leading the charge to investigate how the money is allocated. He and a group of others are filing a federal complaint, but the district says the allegations are meritless.

A group of concerned citizens gathered at the office of one of the unions representing teachers on Wednesday.

The complaint says that the district is covering its tracks by adding federal dollars to the calculations to make up the difference.

DISD Superintendent Mike Miles says the analysis is based on improper analysis and limited information.

"Totally baseless, meritless and show that they do not understand budgeting, finance or anything that the district has to do," said Miles. "…The report takes one piece and then…doesn't understand what piece they're looking at."

For example, Miles says the report takes issue with sports funding at Townview Magnet Center, which doesn't have a sports program. But the complaint, he says, fails to understand that sports also encompasses UIL, which includes several other programs.

"But just to say athletics at, sports at Townview…well, if you don't understand that sports is not also band and debate and all these other things, then you get a different picture," said Miles.

Miles says looking at the entire picture reveals that Titile I schools actually receive more money per student and that the district's own auditors and the Texas Education Agency have found the district to be in compliance with federal rules and regulations.

Betzen admits that the report zeroes in on very specific types of funding, but insists it's a fair way to compare how tax dollars are spent.

"The money touches on everything in DISD," said Betzen. "It needs to be investigated. It needs to be explored."

In response to Miles Betzen also poses this question: if Title I schools are receiving the appropriate funds, then why does academic performance continue to drop at Title I schools?

Miles says the district is doing as much as it can to bolster achievement.

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