Thursday, April 5, 2018

Dallas District 9 Election & unanswered debate question

The most threatening question submitted Wednesday night at the District 9 public debate at Alamo Draft House, was never asked.  It needs to be asked.

Building from two postings below on this blog, I submitted a question similar to the following question to be asked of trustee candidates. The question simply stated is:

"Before passing the TRE for a vote, would you support requiring DISD to release 10 years of financial data with a School Equity Spreadsheet released for each year?"

To provide more background:

Two of the many reasons the TRE (Tax Ratification Election for 13 cent tax increase) did not pass out of the DISD board for a vote by the public were: 1) the lack of DISD transparency and, 2) perceptions that minority, high-poverty schools are under-funded.  (Note that all 4 trustees voting against the TRE represented districts with greater percentages of schools that are overwhelmingly high poverty and minority. The only exception to this pattern was the trustee for District 4, Pleasant Grove, who did not join them in spite of District 4 poverty.) 

Each spreadsheet would have one row for each DISD School and 70 or more columns with the most critical data for each school. This data would include identifying information like trustee district, zip code, census tract etc..., plus 20 columns of demographic data, and at least 32 columns of PEIMS full cost financial data for that year as recorded per child, as well as other critical variables as identified. Would you support this level of transparency with each school's data on one row in the year's spreadsheet with all schools on the same spreadsheet? 

Supporting the requirement that all the data for each school is in one spreadsheet row would make this an exceptionally powerful spreadsheet for exposing a multitude of issues, the very issues that probably contributed significantly to all 4 trustee votes against the TRE last year.

This question was not selected to be asked.  Will it be asked in future debates?

Also, this level of transparency for data in Dallas has NEVER been achieved.  It would allow anyone to quickly study and pinpoint under-funding or over-funding patterns over any set of years for any select school or grouping of schools.

They said last night that the unanswered questions submitted would be answered online.  I have requested the link to those questions and answers. It will be posted here once received.  They acknowledged receipt of the above question.

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