Dallas council approves construction of controversial charter school

A routine request to approve a charter school in Dallas that turned into to a nasty fight ended with the school winning approval to build – barely.

The Dallas City Council voted 7-6 on Wednesday to allow construction of the campus by Uplift Education for 1,800 students near Camp Wisdom Road and Interstate 35 in Red Bird.

Some Dallas ISD board members asked the council to reject the plan and claimed the growth of charter schools threatened the public school system. DISD trustee Joyce Forman, whose district the school will now go in, has been the most vocal trustee in her opposition to the charter school’s construction.

One speaker at Wednesday’s meeting said Oak Cliff is already saturated and that takes money away from public schools.

"You're going to be privatizing our schools so people can make millions off our kids. It's not about these kids behind me, it's about people lining their pockets," one man said.

Dallas ISD officials said the district has lost 2,000 students and tax funding that adds up to $10 million due to charter schools.

Many Uplift teachers and parents also showed up at the council meeting. One parent said charter schools are a bandage on a broken system. Another speaker said she is teaching her charter school students to run for school board seats.

Bottom line, if the school hadn't been approved then charter school parents said they wouldn't have sent their kids to DISD schools.

"It was either going to be this school, another Uplift school, or I was going to homeschool," said Uplift parent Michelle Rushing.