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Farmers Branch ISD Choice Goes To A Vote

A student studies at his desk. (credit: Larry W. Smith/Getty Images)

A student studies at his desk. (credit: Larry W. Smith/Getty Images)

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FARMERS BRANCH (CBSDFW.COM) - You could call it a school district divorce, of sorts. Tuesday night the Farmers Branch City Council decided to ask voters if they should start their own school district.

The city council voted to move forward with a referendum election, the first step toward potentially forming its school district.

“I think this issue is probably the biggest and most important issue that has come before this council,” said council member Ben Robinson, who placed the item on Tuesday night’s agenda.

The city now sends the majority of its students, almost 3900, to the consolidated Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD.

The Farmers Branch mayor, Tim O’Hare, has said that CFBISD policies are too left leaning. Mayor O’Hare also expressed concern about, among other things, proposed changes to that district’s grading policies. “Homework will no longer be graded. Turning in an assignment late – work count against your grade.”

The district’s superintendent, Lynn Chaffin, did not attend the meeting, although she did express dismay at the proposal.
“I don’t believe this is a good thing for the students of Farmer’s Branch. I think they’re well served where they are,” she said.

Parents at the city council meeting were split in their opinions.

Sam Aceves, who claimed his daughters’ education suffered in the current school district, argued local control of schools would improve them. “We would make sure all kids get a quality education,” he said.

Jack Viveros, on the other hand, argued the problem wasn’t with the district, but with the community. “It saddens me to see that the community is split the way it is. And getting a new school district I don’t see how that’s going to help,” he said.

A handful of students from Farmer’s Branch, about 15, attend the Dallas Independent School District and would also be affected.

But, the biggest obstacle may be in the numbers. State law requires 8,000 students to form a new school district. Estimates indicate Farmer’s Branch has between 4,000 and 6,000.