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:

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