Dallas ISD Verifies Enough Signatures For Controversial Home-Rule School Charter | KERA News

Dallas ISD Verifies Enough Signatures For Controversial Home-Rule School Charter

May 22, 2014

The Dallas school district says it has verified the required number of signatures needed to move forward with an effort to create a home-rule school charter.

More than 24,650 signatures have been verified – that represents more than 5 percent of the district’s registered voters, the threshold required in order to move forward.

The Dallas school board now has 30 days to appoint a 15-member commission of district residents. A majority of commission members must be parents of school-age children who attend public school, while 25 percent of the commission must be classroom teachers.

The Dallas school board has called a special meeting for 9 p.m. Thursday to discuss how it will appoint the commission.

Supporters of home-rule hope the matter is placed on a November ballot. 

More than 49,000 lines were reviewed, the district announced in a news release. Of those, 11,431 signatures came from people not registered to vote; 4,537 came from people who didn’t live within the district; 2,984 came from people with questionable addresses; 1,914 came from people whose voter registration had apparently been cancelled; and 940 signatures appeared more than once. 

DISD has set up a web page to explain home-rule.

KERA's Bill Zeeble explains the home-rule proposal:

It would be a new way to run the school district, allowing it to avoid certain state rules.

The Texas legislature approved home-rule charter districts 19 years ago. But no Texas district has ever passed it, perhaps because it takes a lot of signatures -- 5 percent of registered voters -- to get it on the ballot. After that, a quarter of registered voters must turn out when it’s on the ballot.

A petition drive is underway. About 25,000 signatures need to be collected. If it's successful, DISD trustees would appoint a 15-member charter commission that would create a governance plan over which trustees would have no power or control. ...

Trustees question those behind the effort. The push comes from a group called Support Our Public Schools, which says it wants to work with the board to improve education. ...

The home-rule charter would then appear on November’s ballot. If at least a quarter of Dallas’ registered voters turn out and approve it, the district would follow those new rules. The process has led to loud rallies, such as one held a few weeks ago. 

Catch up on KERA's coverage of the home-rule proposal: