Dallas ISD axes plan to privatize some public schools

Dallas ISD announced Tuesday it is scrapping a proposal that would have turned over the control of certain schools to private operators.

After a community backlash earlier this year, the district limited the proposal to pre-K. But the latest proposal would have applied to dozens of elementary through high schools.

The district's reversal came just hours after FOX 4 interviewed a top district leader about the plan that was up for a vote next month.

Dallas ISD Trustee Joyce Foreman was already on record with her concerns before the district's sudden reversal.

“If we talk about taking away the good schools and leaving the schools that are struggling, are we really for public education?  Or are we for privatization?” she asked.

Brian Lusk, Dallas ISD’s Chief of Strategic Initiatives, was still promoting the policy change Tuesday morning. He addressed some of the concerns.

“It's not privatization. Only non-profit organizations or institutions of higher ed are eligible. We're not partnering with charters. This is not privatization.”

There is a financial incentive from the state legislature. For every student in a partnership school, the district would receive $800 more per student. The now-abandoned policy would have expanded partnership charters to the district's open enrollment campuses.

“There are other opportunities, such as enhancements in the arts that can take arts to the next level,” Lusk said. “Montessori models resources in Montessori space that would help our pipeline for teachers.”

The district has been working to turn Martin Luther King Jr. Learning Center into an open enrollment arts school, which would act as a Baby Booker T. It was revealed in a briefing earlier this month that CitySquare could be one of DISD's partner organizations.

A spokesperson said the district will continue its partnerships under SB 1882 for pre-K. The board approved those partnerships in March.