DALLAS (CBS11) – One Dallas area charter school network’s gradual expansion is having a direct impact on Texas’ 2nd largest school system: Dallas ISD.
“Yes, we are aware of the impact,” Pamela Lear, Dallas ISD Chief of Staff said Wednesday.
According to DISD data, 13 percent of its K-12 enrollment pool attends charter schools. That’s 20,000 students. Half of that figure is enrolled in one of 19 Uplift Education campuses within Dallas ISD boundaries. With names like Pinnacle and Peak, the 20-year-old charter system has pinpointed operations in South and East Dallas, offering families an option to their traditional neighborhood public school.
Irma Arauz chose charter, DISD and private schools for her children. The DeSoto mother selected an Uplift campus for her 12-year-old daughter.
” I didn’t feel the communication was there with administration or students. I didn’t feel it when I walked in,” Arauz said of her neighborhood school.
Dallas ISD has heard those same words before. The school district has an initiative aimed at promoting choice schools to parents. Choice schools range from single gender academies to early college programs. DISD plans a marketing campaign to educate families about the various choice schools, as a method to compete with area charters.
“We have quality education happening here, and when people are making a decision (on school choice), we hope that they make an informed decision,” Lear said.
Lear adds that 400 middle schoolers not enrolled in DISD last year have signed up for choice programs. But Uplift Education officials say they have 17,000 students on waiting lists for slots throughout their D-FW network of schools.
Charter schools are public schools. They are independently operated, state financed education operations.