Dallas ISD wants to use eminent domain to build new school

A Dallas ISD plan to build a new elementary school has hit a snag.

Administrators had planned to use eminent domain to buy out businesses and build the school at Walling and Skillman in the Vickery Meadow neighborhood.

Among the businesses that would be torn down are an antique shop and the original ‘Jake’s Hamburgers’ location. But they've gotten a lot of pushback from the community.

People who live in the area say it’s no place for an elementary school. There are six lanes of traffic, and the district would have to relocate about half a dozen businesses, some of which have been here for decades.

Inside a Vickery Meadows elementary school that suffers from overcrowding, community members packed the cafeteria to complain about Dallas ISD's plans for a new school in the neighborhood.

School Board President Dan Micciche listened.

"There are not a lot of alternatives,” he said.

The proposed elementary school would be built off Walling and Skillman and would replace businesses. It's needed because the two nearest elementary schools, Jill Stone and Hotchkiss, are overpopulated.

On Wednesday, the district and a school board trustee said they would consider other properties to build on. But without any other options on the table, people are leery.

Bill Dickerson is a disabled veteran who recently had a lung transplant. He's been one of the 60 antique dealers at City View Antique Mall off Walling and Skillman since 1990. He'd lose his income if it got bought out to build a school.

The district is considering using eminent domain to make the purchase but says that would be last resort.

The purchase of the property would also force the demolition of other businesses.

The district does not have a plan B right now, but administrators promise they will look at other options.

A community member suggested the district create an advisory board of people who live here to weigh in on where the school should be built. The district’s chief operating officer said he liked the idea and will consider doing so.

If the district did move forward with building off Walling and Skillman, any exercise of eminent domain would have to be approved by the school board.