By Steve Pickett

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Home-rule is a hot topic for those close to the Dallas Independent School District, with big opinions on both sides.

A home-rule school system would be free from some state requirements, including a mandatory minimum length of the school year. It would also remove school board members, replacing them with a non-elected panel.

Dallas mother, Louisa Meyer, is a proponent of the “Support our Public Schools” initiative, which is calling for the Dallas School Board to appoint a group to craft a new school district constitution separate from the state.

“A home-rule district would allow us more flexibility in about a dozen areas,” said Meyer.

The campaign is leading a petition effort to get voters to approve a possible ballot measure that would reshape DISD’s charter, giving the school system home-rule autonomy from the state. Meyer says there’s one reason for the change.

“The data shows that we have too many children who are not having the same academic success.”

But opponents say it’s not about improving the academic achievement of Dallas students.

“Where have these people been? When was the last time they’ve been in a DISD school?” questions Beatrice Martinez.

Martinez is a vocal critic against the home-rule effort and has spoken against Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings’ support of the plan.

“It”s about money and power. It’s not about the children of Dallas…of educating all of our children,” said Martinez.

The first step toward shifting DISD’s education system requires 26-thousand valid petition signatures.

Meyer and the “Support Our Public Schools Campaign” has yet to say how many signatures the home-rule effort has so far.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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