Education
12:07 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Dallas School Board Names Home-Rule Charter Commission Members

The 15-person Dallas home-rule charter commission has been named and members include some trustees’ relatives, and others with education and business backgrounds.

School board president Eric Cowan said there were no rules about naming relatives, and trustees could have named themselves, but didn’t. 

“All the trustees had good names and a lot of variety that we got to choose from,” Cowan said. “In the end each trustee got to pick at least one out of their list and we named two at-large and  we’re happy with the process and the outcome.”

School trustees met Thursday night to name the commission members. They include: 

  • two past school board members, Jerome Garza and Edwin Flores
  • the son of trustee Lew Blackburn (Lew Blackburn, Jr.)
  • the husband of trustee Carla Ranger (Marcus Ranger)
  • a retired, controversial DISD administrator, Shirley Ison-Newsome
  • DISD assistant superintendent Stephanie Elizalde
  • Meadows Foundation executive Bob Weiss, who will be interim chairperson
  • Department of Education attorney Melissa Malonson
  • business people (Jeff Veazey, Ricardo Mendez, Danae Gutierrez)
  • Four teachers had already been picked by the District Advisory Council. They include Isaac Freeman, Ron Oliver, Bonita Reece, and Julie Sandel.

Trustees met the Monday deadline to name the committee. Members have a year to write a new charter for the Dallas school district, but backers of home-rule want the committee to finish in a month to get the charter on the ballot by November. A new charter could change how the district operates. 

The formation of the rest of the 15-member commission came the same day that a judge ruled in favor of the Dallas ISD regarding the four teachers that had been appointed earlier.

Dallas’ largest teacher organization, the Alliance/AFT, sued the district saying the four teachers should be invalidated because the advisory committee, by law, has to be elected. Some of them weren’t, and District Judge Carl Ginsberg acknowledged in court that some “were there illegally.” But in Thursday’s ruling, he said Alliance/AFT “cannot demonstrate harm to the member interests.” He said the group failed to show that the four teacher-members won’t adequately advocate for teachers and student interests.

Alliance/AFT said it's appealing the judge's ruling.