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Mayor Rawlings: Toyota Passed On Dallas Because Of DISD

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Toyota announced its plans on Monday to relocate its US headquarters from Torrance, California to Plano — not Dallas.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings says that Toyota considered relocating to Dallas, but decided against the city because the school district simply wasn’t good enough.

“A lot of kids want to send their kids to Plano schools or Frisco schools, but not DISD schools,” said Mayor Rawlings. “That’s why the schools are so important.”

Vice President of the Dallas ISD Board of Trustees Dr. Lew Blackburn disputes that the district is a mark against the city, noting that the School for the Talented and Gifted in Dallas was recently ranked as the number one public high school in the country by Newsweek.

“If you’re trying to sell Dallas, sell that we have some of the highest performing schools in the nation,” said Dr. Blackburn. “Any large urban school district is going to have a few that are not doing well. That is sort of unique to a large urban school district.”

Toyota told the Dallas Morning News that it looked at a number of factors in its search, including cost of living, airport access, and education.

When it comes to education, Dr. Blackburn believes that Mayor Rawlings simply took the wrong approach.

“Sell that we have some of the best principals, some of the best teachers in the nation,” said Dr. Blackburn. “Sell the positiveness about Dallas. Don’t dwell on the negatives. I don’t think anyone who was wooing Toyota talks about the negatives.”

Rawlings responded on Wednesday to KRLD.

“I pitched like a wildman talking about all the positive things,” says Rawlings. “And I told them, look, even if you don’t choose Dallas , make sure you choose Plano…It’s a win for the Dallas area.”

The district also released a statement in response to Rawlings’ comments, acknowledging their own successes and challenges.

“Dallas ISD is proud to have, for the third year in a row, the best high school in the country according to U.S. News and World Report, along with the 8th best high school. Today, Dallas ISD was named as having 7 of the top ten schools in the region according to Children At Risk. While we are thrilled with these success stories, we continue to acknowledge our challenges and work diligently with staff, students, parents and the community to improve academic performance throughout the district. The district’s Destination 2020 plan aims to prepare all students to enter college, the military or start a career immediately after graduation.”

(©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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