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Parents Begin Preparing For DISD School Closings

By Suzy Solis, CBS 11 News
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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – No amount of campaigning could save the 11 DISD schools set to be shut down due to massive state budget cuts.

In a contentious meeting, DISD board members voted 6 to 2 to consolidate 11 schools, saving the district $11.5 million.

Many of the schools that will close were underutilized, with declining enrollment and at about 50 percent capacity, said John Dahlander, spokesperson for DISD.

Parents and nearby residents worry about how the soon to be empty buildings will affect property values and whether they’ll attract crime.

“We plan to keep, we plan to mow the yards, we plan to maintain the buildings to be sure they are clean and operable for when hopefully, when the neighborhood comes back and the students come back and we can reopen the schools,” Dahlander said.

Board members will discuss new school boundary lines at next months meeting, but until then there are many unanswered questions.

“This is not our neighborhood,” said Alicia Rodrigues, whose daughter attends Bonham Elementary, an exemplary school set to be closed by next year.  “But our neighborhood school is also closed so now we are faced with where to transfer her for the upcoming school  year.”

Other parents say waiting is not an option and plan to take matters into their own hands.
“We are going to maybe think about moving to get into a good school district,” said Grace Jeffrey, whose children also attend Bonham.

The district still needs to make another $13.5 million in cuts but there is no word on where those cuts will come from.

Teacher layoffs have not been mentioned but Dahlander said it’s still too early in the process to know whether that will happen.

For now, many of the teachers working at the soon to be shuttered schools will follow their students into classrooms at other facilities. Others, however, will be put in a district-wide pool and “will hopefully be picked up by other schools,” Dahlander said.

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