In the midst of our current crisis, it can be difficult to consider decisions and plans to be made in the long term. But the hundreds of thousands of public school students in the Dallas Independent School District can’t wait for the emergence of a vaccine to see necessary improvements made to their school facilities and educational resources.
One way or another, an election will occur this November, and district leaders still have every intention of putting a bond initiative before voters. The size of the package has not yet been determined, but current estimates place it near $3 billion, which would make it the largest school bond in the history of the state of Texas.
Unfortunately, this enormous sum would still not be enough to cover every single one of the needs identified by the most recent Facilities Condition Index. This is part of the challenge of a district that serves more than 150,000 students on more than 220 campuses, with 99 of those campus buildings being more than 60-years old. Additional funds will be needed to expand internet access and provide access to other basic community resources. And the lingering impact of recent natural disasters will further complicate the process.
Simply put, our district leadership and school board trustees will have difficult decisions to make in the upcoming weeks as they finalize the package that will go before voters.But Dallas ISD taxpayers and community members have the opportunity to shape the outcome of those decisions. And given the realities of conducting a democracy in a pandemic, you won’t even have to leave your home to do so.
Over the next three weeks, DISD administration will be conducting a series of virtual “Bond 2020 Town Hall Meetings,” all available online in English and Spanish. By attending any of the three hourlong events, you’ll hear directly from Superintendent Michael Hinojosa and Chief Financial Officer Dwayne Thompson, and have an opportunity to provide feedback on the needs of your neighborhood schools. The dates and times are as follows:
Thursday, May 7th at 6:00pm
Wednesday, May 13th at 6:00pm
Tuesday, May 19th at 6:00pm