Dallas ISD long-range plans likely to involve consolidation

Dallas ISD is looking at long-range plans for its schools -- upgrading some and consolidating or closing others.

It's the first long-term facilities plan the district has ever had and the hope is that it makes schools safer, more attractive and more competitive among the growing field of charter schools.

The plan is 14 months in the making and based on data about school conditions and enrollment.

“What we would like to do is concentrate on the buildings in the worst condition first,” said Scott Layne, Deputy Superintendent of Operations.

The study identified 47 schools to be demolished with 25 rebuilt -- that's a reduction of 22 schools districtwide. Most affected are elementary schools, along with one or two middle schools and no high schools.

Layne stresses they're in the early stages of discussion.

“When you talk about consolidating or closing schools it is a long process, it involves community input the board has to make the ultimate decision to do that,” Layne said.

Pulled from Thursday's board briefing agenda was a separate discussion about the future of Ignacio Zaragoza Elementary and Cesar Chavez Learning Center, both in East Dallas. District leaders say they're considering adjusting the programs at Zaragoza to increase enrollment and that might impact Cesar Chavez.

Any changes are independent of the long-range master plan though both moves have common objectives -- make the district more efficient and competitive, especially when it comes to the growing number of charter schools.

“Parents look for more opportunities and choice is really important,” said Stephanie Elizalde, Chief of School Leadership. “Today we are really looking at meeting the needs of our students as individual learners rather than everyone needing the exact same menu.”

District leaders say there isn't any money to build new schools, that would have to come in a later bond package. What they do have money for in this budget are upgrades that makes schools safer -- like installing vestibules at main entrances, security cameras and implementing card access.

READ MORE: Board report on long-range planning