Friday, August 31, 2018

Dallas ISD had 43 IR (failing) schools 2013/14, started funding schools more equally, then only had 4 by 2017/18

Dallas ISD had 43 Improvement Required (IR or failing) schools in 2013/14. In 2015 DISD began correcting some of the funding inequality between all DISD schools. By 2017/18 there were only 4 IR schools. Obviously there are many additional reasons for this progress, but this is the largest one that nobody is talking about. Here are some of the details.

The inequality was caused by the supplantation of federal funds away from high need, high poverty schools which then have a greater probability of going IR. 

“Regular funds” are the funds generated from local taxes that should be distributed equally to each student. 

Need-based funds are funds intended for students whose academic performance may be hindered by various needs: poverty, having English as a second language (ESL), or suffering from any special need.

When "regular funds" are replaced that means a student receives less total money for their education. Supplementary funds are no longer supplementary! Money has been taken from that student for their education. Instead, need-based funds must remain supplementary. That is, above and beyond the "regular fund" base every student should receive equally.
These 43 IR schools were almost all high-need, high-poverty, high-ESL schools that did not receive the higher “regular fund” amounts allocated to the students of wealthier schools. Of these 43 IR schools, 42 were not specialty schools with irregular funding. The average "regular fund" amount per student was only $3,756 in these 42 schools. See the chart below:
The 43 Dallas ISD Schools rated IR in 2013/14 and the "regular funds" per student for each

Both the above chart and the chart below were created using the "regular" fund amounts for these schools for 2013/14 as found in the PEIMS Financial Standard Reports, the 
PEIMS Individual Campus Financial Actual Reports section, online at

Another report needs to be made on the 2017/18 data on this site to see how much supplantation continues.

There are a total of 12 DISD schools with poverty rates below 50%, the "most wealthy" schools in DISD.  In this grouping of all schools with below 50% financially disabled students are two specialty schools with exceptional (very high) funding that are not counted among these 10 listed below or in these calculations. They are listed in the chart at the bottom but not included in the calculations as that would have significantly raised the average "regular funds" amount in a way that I do not think would be justified due to the special nature of these two schools and their funding.

Among the 10 remaining "wealthy" schools you have all students receiving an average per student "regular fund" amount of $4,643.  That is $887 more per student in 2013/14 in these 10 schools than the $3,756 average for the 42 IR schools!  This per student difference amounts to hundreds of thousands of dollars of less funding in the higher need, higher poverty schools!

See more details in the chart below. (Due to the shocking message of this pattern among these 10 schools, the public is encouraged to check these numbers with the PEIMS Financial Standard Reports link above!)

Within 10 months of these 43 schools being declared IR for the 2013/14 school year a formal complaint by 15 Dallas DISD parents and residents was filed on 4-21-15 with the U.S. Department of Education, Civil Rights Division, regarding the underfunding of high poverty schools in DISD. Then, 20 days after 6-3-15, when this complaint received major coverage on the evening news, Superintendent Mike Miles resigned.  He was suspected of orchestrating this supplantation.

Immediate major changes to the allocation of "regular funds" among DISD schools was began so no schools with wealthier non-ESL students would still receive over $2,000 more per student in "regular funds" than some of the high poverty, high need, DISD schools.

These changes did not happen fast enough to benefit the 2014/15 year, but other DISD improvements helped that year to improve the number of IR schools to 37, 6 less than the 43 schools the year before.

Then from 2015/16 through 2017/18 the improvements accelerated from all sources with many academic improvements, including lower teacher turnover, and the more just funding by lessening the "regular fund" inequality. The IR list was decreased by 33 schools in 3 years! DISD had only 4 IR schools by 2017/18!

Sadly, a much decreased, but still in existence, supplantation continued in 2017/18 with some of the same "wealthy" schools still getting as much as over $1000 more “regular fund” dollars per student than some high poverty schools. But that is a significant improvement from the $2,000 difference that existed between those same schools in 2013/14.

To be clear, many other factors helped lower the number of IR schools, but the lessening of supplantation in DISD was a major factor, possibly even equal to the lowering of teacher turnover.

All DISD students should receive the same amount of non-need based tax funds intended for each student’s education, called "regular funds." It is only when need-based funding is truly “supplemental” that the needs of our individual students are more adequately funded. It is the difference between equality and equity.

On 9-22-17 a 9-page federal report was received from the Department of Education Civil Rights Division attorneys closing the investigation of all 15 allegations identified in the 4-21-15 complaint.

None of the 15 allegations were invalidated. Instead the investigations were each closed due to a collection of various technicalities, unrelated to validity.
Most of the closures related to claims that the Department of Education, Civil Rights Division was not ordered or authorized to investigate that specific allegation. Here is link to a full copy of the 9-22-17 nine page DOE, Civil Rights Division report. These 9 pages serve as another powerful addition to the history of injustices inside DISD:

Sunday, August 19, 2018

TRE Fact Check - Dallas ISD Tax Ratification Election 2018

On 8-16-18 the Dallas ISD Board of Trustees approved bringing a tax ratification election (TRE) to voters on November 6, 2018 that, if approved, would fund strategic initiatives that support students.  If approved by voters in November, the 13 cent addition to property taxes with the TRE would provide an additional almost $126 million every year to support early learning, racial equity, Schools of Choice, and strategic compensation.

Dallas ISD has set up a their main information page at .

Misleading information is being circulated online that must be corrected with documented facts linked to online sources.  Well explained corrections to the following are welcome, but only if documented with links to reliable data. 
1) It is being alleged that any benefit from the TRE will be gone by the end of year 3 of the 5 year budget.  That is false.  The income will slowly decrease but will average $126 million the first 5 years, with annual benefits continuing into the future and never disappearing.

Here is the $1.04 income projection for 5 years with funds inserted from the $1.17 income projection spreadsheet provided on page 18 of the presentation that Dallas ISD used in all 4 of their public meetings on the TRE ran by Dr. Hinojosa. These were done in July and were updated two months later with even more positive numbers.

The first chart dominated with yellow inserts is a projection by DISD for income if the $1.04 income continues.  The additional data from the $1.17 income projection is inserted in yellow to illustrate the changes.  The non-numbered lines are a projection of the increased income from State Revenue that will be received from the two "Golden Pennies" that will be authorized by the TRE.  The blue tinted lines show that specific increased State Revenue which is included in the line 13 total income tabulation.
Please note in line 13 above the additional income that will be generated annually if the $1.17 tax rate becomes law. The five year total in additional spendable income, after recapture was subtracted, is projected to be $609,870,823.  Of this amount, it is projected that about $90 million will come from the increase in State funding generated by the two "Golden Pennies" that will generate those funds, the $1.05 and $1.06 pennies.

Below is page 18 from the presentation given at all four of the DISD meetings over the last two weeks, and now on the TRE page maintained by DISD.  This chart is the funding over the next 5 years if the TRE is approved by voters:
Page 18 with 5-year budget for TRE if passed, given to the public in 4 meetings prior to 8-16-18

2) None of the new tax funds generated by the TRE will go to teacher raises the first year.  The first year, 2018/19, due to the unexpected 3% increase in taxable values up to a full 10% increase, for this year the salary raises will now be funded without the TRE.  However, they are unfunded for the next 4 years and the funds from the TRE, averaging $126 million a year, will partially be used to fund those ongoing annual raises.  Remember, according to the DISD TRE Q & A pages the following items will be funded by the funds generated by the TRE:

How will Dallas ISD invest the additional revenue generated by the TRE?
Early Learning
  • Increase kindergarten readiness
  • Expand enrollment and facilities
  • Increase program quality and rigor
  • Improve teacher effectiveness
Racial Equity
  • Increase Instructional and Programmatic Equity
  • Expand Staff Cultural Competence
  • Grow Student and Staff Leadership Opportunities
  • Strengthen External Partnerships and Community Relations
  • Improve Equity in Facility Improvements and Operations
Schools of Choice
  • Provide more students a “best-fit” school
  • Expand academic options by launching new choice schools in every area of the district
Strategic Compensation

  • Define, support and reward excellence through strategic compensation for teachers, administrators and staff
  • Including ACE 3.0 (Accelerating Campus Excellence)

Friday, August 17, 2018

Potential $610 million total loss if Tax Ratification Election (TRE) fails for Dallas ISD

Dallas ISD will lose over $90 million in State Revenue over the next 5 years, plus $520 million in local funds, if the TRE does not pass!

Yes, State Revenue will go down as other income rises, but only after the first year of the TRE being in place. That year the State Revenue will go up over $22 million over the income if the $1.04 tax rate stayed in place! By the 5th year State Revenue will still be over $14 million higher than it would have been if the $1.04 rate had remained! See blue line in spreadsheet. We are talking about State Revenue, not local revenue!
We are talking about income from the two "golden pennies", $1.05 and $1.06, that some trustees including Joyce Foreman, wanted approved last year and again this year. That is income that is matched by the State. That is why the DISD State Revenue will immediately go up over $22 million the first year if the TRE passes. I have inserted that increase in State Revenue into new non-numbered and highlighted lines in this same spreadsheet I circulated before. (I will gladly share the Excel copy with anyone if they want to check the math.) The blue highlighted lines are the increased State Revenue generated by the "Golden Pennies."
Again, if the TRE fails DISD students and teachers will be loosing about $610 million over the next 5 years. $90 million of that amount will come from increased State Revenue over those 5 years.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Dallas ISD School Information File – Resource for Parents

Every parent wants their child to have the best school possible.  Now that Dallas ISD is open enrollment, allowing any child to attend any of the 266 schools and academies that are not full, parents can explore the best alternatives!!  Only 10% of DISD schools, about 24, are full!  However, 36 DISD schools were among the 400 schools statewide who received every possible distinction available!  149 of DISD schools are rated either A or B in performance by the State of Texas Education Agency. Only a tiny minority of these schools are full!  With open enrollment any school with vacancies is available for transfer.  The improvement will continue! It is verified that DISD is improving faster than any other urban district in Texas! (See below.)

To find the school ratings for the 266 DISD schools and academies there is a "School Information File" on the Dallas ISD Data Portal.  It provides a shortcut to the most information available in one place about each of the 266 schools and academies in Dallas ISD, including their most recent state ratings and the number of distinctions they have.  This is one of the most useful places to begin a search for the best school.

To find the "School Information File" either google “Dallas ISD Data Portal” or go to .  At the top of that page, to the right of “Statistics & Reports” (where most people seeking DISD data go) you will find “RESOURCES.”  Select “RESOURCES” and go to the last of the four choices: “School Information File.”  Select it and the rest is easy.  On the last page all the information choices should remain checked if you want all the data to begin with. On the top of that page in the center you will see [Clear all boxes I Export to Excel ] as alternatives. You want to click on "Export to Excel."

The first time I did it I was using Chrome as my browser and it generated a virus message at this point not allowing the Excel Spreadsheet to be downloaded.  I switched to the Microsoft Edge browser and it worked fine.

(I was only told of this School Information File this week by one of the VERY few people within DISD who knew of its existence.  Most of DISD Administration, and probably 99 percent of staff, did not know this file had been online for almost a year!  It potentially will fill all the needs of the Excel School Equity Spreadsheet that I have been blogging about for several months!  We just need to add more variables and more years worth of data.  The format is perfect!!)

Parents looking for a school for their child can search by any of the multiple variables given on each school.  I would download the entire spreadsheet and save it.  Then save a “school search” copy so you keep the original to return to.  In the school search copy you narrow your search by deleting the rows with the schools outside the zip code areas you want to consider. Then also delete the columns with the types of information from the 48 variables that you are not interested in.  

That will narrow the number of possible schools and academies to those you may be most interested in due to location: near your home, work, or grandma, or anywhere if you are looking for the highest rated schools possible in DISD.  You can also delete variables you are not concerned with to help secure a more manageable spreadsheet.

The "School Information File" online as of 10-15-18 is only a start.  (It has been updated with current data by DISD staff since I first saw it.)  It has only one year's data and 40 variables.  The information items will need to increase significantly to over 200 and the number of years data represented need to grow so that past years are available. Parents definitely need to know each schools student capacity number so that they can easily tell if it is full using the enrollment figures online that are updated daily.

As you work on the file and notice information you believe must be included, please post below or send me a message about the missing data.  We know many more variables need to be added, as well as annual historical data to see a schools history to document patterns. This must be a School Information File that becomes a central resource for Dallas families, and will achieve that with feedback and improvement.

This week on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings there will be public presentations on both DISD progress and the Tax Ratification Election that will be approved at the Thursday called DISD Board meeting. There is also an open Q & A session after every presentation that is often the best part as it reveals our Dallas Community.

I have seen this presentation by Dr. Hinojosa twice. It is priceless!  I strongly recommend attending.  Both meetings start at 6:00 pm promptly.  The first is Tuesday night, the 14th, at the Pinkston High School Auditorium and the second is at the Madison High School Auditorium on Wednesday night, the 15th.  The next night, also at 6 pm, the Board meeting will begin at the 5151 Samuel Blvd, the old Dallas County Schools location, that will approve the TRE.  That is the Tax Ratification Election that is the formal election to ask for public approval for the 13 cent tax increase.  

You can go to for a general orientation, but the presentations are the best thing to attend due to the public questions asked.  It lets you know Dallas.

Lack of trust of DISD is a driving force for people saying they will vote against the TRE. The level of transparency demonstrated with the "School Information File" now online will help change that, and pass the TRE!  

Anyone can download an Excel Spreadsheet now on 266 schools and academies with 40 pieces of information.  If DISD shows a resolve to expand that information available to all years from 2017/18 back ten years, and if DISD expands the data each year on each school to five times the size of the 40 pieces of information now available, if that happens, trust for DISD will expand very positively.  It will help confidence in DISD to grow. 

With the new letter grades being given this week, below is the letter grade projection for Dallas ISD schools given at the 8-9-18 Board Briefing.  This chart also shows the wonderful progress going from 43 to 4 failing schools within 4 years. The letter grade distribution among DISD schools was projected this week by DISD staff.  This is the current projection: 

On Wednesday of this week the Texas Education Agency (TEA) will make public their ratings of all public schools in Texas.  It is reported that there are 12 schools in Texas that received perfect scores in the TEA.  Half of those 12 are reported to be Dallas ISD schools.  DISD only has 3% of the schools in the state, but a disproportionately high percentage of the best ones!

Again, this week the TEA ratings will be made public.  If I have the time I will be inserting them into the full 266 school and academy spreadsheet that I downloaded from the DISD Data Portal. If you would like to have a copy of the DISD School Information File Spreadsheet that I will update with new school ratings from Wednesday, send me an email request at  I will send the updated spreadsheet to you with the new TEA data coming out Wednesday when I finish it, but it may take a while.

DISD is making wonderfully positive academic progress.  The "School Information File" now online already reflects this progress.  As 2017/18 and the years before 2016/17 are added, more of the history of improvement will be reflected, constantly more strongly, as DISD gathers resources and is able to post more data onto the "School Information File."

We have the good fortune in Dallas to be living in the most-improved-urban-district-in-Texas since 2012. Look at the chart below to see how DISD beats the other urban districts for improvement and achieved this title.  
Achievement Growth Across Major Texas Urban Districts from 2012 to 2018
Nothing will improve the quality of life in Dallas more than constantly more improvement at Dallas ISD!

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Public transparency generates public confidence.

Public confidence is needed for voters to approve the planned Dallas ISD November Tax Ratification Election (TRE) to increase property tax by 13 cents per $100 valuation.

Currently DISD transparency online is extensive, but fragmented into thousands of locations and charts making many inquiries out of the reach of most people. The people of Dallas, especially parents selecting schools for their child, must have a more easy access to unified information about DISD schools allowing much more rapid and easy school comparisons. The best solution is for DISD to unify data for all schools, by school, into one DISD spreadsheet.  

An Excel School Equity Spreadsheet could be created with one row for every DISD school and 200 or more columns for the variables most in demand by the public. More variables on all schools can be added as needed. Initial variables would include school identifying information including census tract, Trustee district #, building student capacity, facility condition index, enrollment by grade, student demographics, annual achievement, teacher demographics, mean and median salary, and experience, and school ratings such as the School Effectiveness Index (SEI). The variables would include the 32 budget item allocation categories per student from the online PEIMS Financial Reports.  These 32 items identify where money to run each school is coming from, and how much is allocated per child. A 10-year set of such spreadsheets would allow anyone to replicate the long term charts related to DISD progress that are in the TRE Board Briefing Information for 8-9-18.

Questions that could be easily answered with an Excel School Equity Spreadsheet include:
1.             Parents could instantly compare schools anywhere in DISD with each other, schools near their home, or near their work, or near their grandmother.
2.             Parents could focus on any variable, such as average teacher experience, School Effectiveness Indices (SEI), as well as multiple student achievement measurements. 
3.             Anyone could study the range of per-student funding by school from each of the 32 sources of funding per child in DISD schools.
4.             Anyone could study the range of "regular funding" (the funding from local tax collections) for the average student in each school?  Is it equal for all schools?  If not, why not?
5.             Are the schools with higher percentages of high poverty, English as a Second Language (ESL), or handicapped students, receiving the full amount of supplemental funding they should receive based on federal formulas, without any reduction in "regular" funding?

These, and hundreds of thousands of other questions, could instantly be answered with one School Equity Excel Spreadsheet for each school year.
  Currently the hours of work required keep multiple school comparisons effectively hidden from parents and the general public.

The general concept of the DISD School Equity Excel Spreadsheet has been approved unanimously at meetings of both the Dallas NAACP and the Our Community Our Schools Coalition.  Other groups concerned about equity in DISD schools are being approached about joining this effort, and/or providing ideas and direction for this effort to expose the inequity between Dallas schools. Dallas ISD can show confidence in the truths of school equity and student achievement within DISD by making Excel School Equity Spreadsheets publicly available before the November Tax Ratification Election.

Dallas ISD has nothing to hide!