Dallas ISD prepares to vote on plan to rebuild tornado-damaged schools

Dallas ISD will discuss and possibly approve a plan for the replacement and restoration of its destroyed schools.

On Thursday night, the school board will consider spending $147 million to renovate and add to Thomas Jefferson High School and build a new campus for pre-K through eighth grade students on the former Cary Middle School site.

The two schools were destroyed by an EF-3 tornado in October. Students have been attending classes on different campuses since then.

Dallas ISD already has plans for how the new schools could look.

They would be built by one of the country’s largest school contractors, which is currently building another campus for the district in west Dallas.

Two weeks ago, Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa spoke about the urgency associated with the project. He hopes to have the schools rebuilt before the 2022 school year.

“If we don’t make a decision in two weeks then we’re talking about 2023. So with all due seriousness... I apologize for my intensity sort of,” he said.

Walnut Hill Elementary was also damaged by the tornado. The district plans to combine its students with those from Carey Middle School on the new Pre-K-8 campus.

The Walnut Hill campus will then be rebuilt from the ground up and used as a career institute.

Hinojosa said the district does have the money for the project in its nearly $600 million rainy day fund. Insurance is only covering about $65 million worth of damages for the three schools.