It’s official: Bonham Elementary will close

The DISD Board of Trustees voted Thursday night to close 10 elementary schools, including James B. Bonham. Bonham holds the highest possible Texas Education Agency rating of exemplary. It also is one of the district’s four blue-ribbon schools.

Bonham is closing because, even though it does a great job of educating students, it does so inefficiently. Bonham serves 22 students for every one teacher. Even though a 1:22 teacher-student ratio technically is the school district’s standard, most schools operate on a ratio of 1:27 or greater.

Out of 230 schools in DISD, 33 are rated unacceptable by the TEA. That’s more than 14 percent. But none of those unacceptable schools will close under this money-saving plan because they receive federal funding that would be lost if the schools were to close. All 10 elementary schools slated to close are rated at least acceptable by the TEA, and all of them are closing for the same reason: inefficiency.

The district will save $11.5 million closing the 10 elementary schools and one middle school, Pearl C. Anderson. James W. Fannin Elementary School on Fitzhugh is the other neighborhood school that will close under the plan.

The board of trustees also voted to extend the DISD teacher workday by an uncompensated 45 minutes. No one in the school district will receive pay increases next year. The school district does plan to spend $400,000 to reinstate seventh-grade athletics.

The board must cut about $38 million from its 2012-13 budget, which totals about $1 .1 billion.

Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Lakewood/East Dallas.
  • chughesbabb

    I heard on NPR that 2 voted against the closures and one board member abstained, I believe.  

  • Keri Mitchell

    Rachel, did the board vote unanimously?

  • Alfredo

    I know the DISD denies it, but I have to think the value of the land has entered into the DISD decision

  • Ken Kuesel

    I believe the district is reviving sixth (6) grade athletics. They already have seventh (7) grade athletics in place.

  • John

    They wanted that… Now they can build new houses…. did you see east dallas homes values up 16%…

  • Rachel Stone

    Yes, I probably should’ve mentioned that in the story. Students from Bonham now will attend Lee, which is rated exemplary.

  • RSF

    I can understand your bitterness. I was for saving Bonham also. However, Lee is exemplary and feeds into the IB curriculum at Long and Woodrow. I think you should give it a chance. In East Dallas we have been able to keep good schools through various regimes and school boards.

  • Bryon Sutherland

    So the take away is: cost is more important than performance unless we’re talking about athletics.

    I’m sure that every principle in the district is learning the lesson being taught here.

  • Lee Gibson

    A disgrace. Shameful.

  • ReneeD

    My son attends Bonham.  I’ve attended all of the board meetings and community meetings regarding the proposed closings and I’ve come to the conclusion that Dallas has a school board that is not interested in education.  It’s egregious. 

    My son and I, along wiht our tax dollars, will be moving out of Dallas and into the suburbs this summer so that he can continue to receive a good education.  I hope the board took into consideration the outmigration of tax dollars when they calculated their savings.

  • chughesbabb

    This is tough. Maybe it’s a necessary sacrifice. I was the so-called “principal for the day”, representing the Advocate, at Bonham a few years ago and the atmosphere at the school was, in a word, inspiring. 

  • Jason

    Well we will successfully destroy a bunch of growing communities. Shutter Bonham which has previously been held up as a model of how to handle near perfect transitioning non-English speaking students, to fully English fluent students, and totally disrupt Lee, but we did cut 1% from the DISD budget. Hooray!