Dallas city council has postponed a vote that would help the Uplift Charter Operation issue bonds to build schools. KERA’s Bill Zeeble reports council members want more information before taking up the vote again.
What some considered a straightforward request with no financial impact on the city of Dallas turned into an emotional two and a half hour council discussion. Charter School operator Uplift Education wants Dallas to form a non-profit education corporation so it can issue low interest bonds. Every speaker before the council, including Marion Barnett, opposed the plan.
Marion Barnett: Our city doesn’t need to get into competition against the DISD . For the city to get in and help another entity against the Dallas Public Schools, I do not think it should happen.
Council woman Angela Hunt said she needed more information and more time, given that no council member claims education expertise. She was also aware of her constituents angered by recent school closures announced by DISD.
Hunt: I’m not clear on why we would be moving forward in endorsing this charter school concept when we have DISD schools shuttering its doors?
Mayor Rawlings’ passion also became evident, He nearly cried as he defended Uplift’s proposal. He said the more good schools out there, the better, whether a DISD or a Charter school.
Rawlings: We have given money to these rich schools. the St. Marks, the Hockadays, but when it comes to our poor kids in this city. We can’t do it. I’m not going to personally stand for poor people to get a bad education anymore.
The council voted 11 to 3 to take up the vote again in two weeks, after a more in depth briefing next week.