New Year’s natterings for 1999:

The DISD task force has recommended $1.2 million bond issue, mainly for new schools to meet enrollment growth and reduce the sea of portable buildings covering many campuses.

Yes, these schools are desperately needed, as are repairs and additions. Many of us thought that East Dallas needed a new middle and high school in the last issue, and we were ignored. However, they remembered to remunerate the roofer who didn’t fix the roof.

We had also asked for an athletic facility, since there are none north of I-30 or east of Central Expressway. How about tying it into a short Santa Fe railroad hike and bike trail linking Woodrow/Long, Randall Park, Lakewood Country Club, Lindsley Park, and Tenison/Samuell-Grand with the White Rock/Arboretum trails?

I believe the taxpayers would readily approve such a large bond program if it were tied to another deal—that the district be split into several smaller districts. Local control could be achieved while preserving economies of scale by sharing tax revenue and certain administrative functions Every poll shows education to be a high priority for the public. DISD officials should show some guts and agree to do the right thing—offer a bond program based on smaller districts, which would put them out of jobs but put the children first.

Since I’m making resolutions for everyone, let me make one for the state. Let’s use the budget surplus for teacher pay raises. I agree that we can’t solve problems by throwing money at them. But we’ve never thrown money directly to the classroom by paying our teachers a professional wage. And I think teachers who live in the district where they teach should be exempt from county, city and school property taxes.

Finally, I believe in school choice—if you choose a private school, that’s cool. I attended a private college. But please don’t ask me, as a taxpayer, to subsidize private primary and secondary schools. I don‚t have kids, but I am happy to pay my share for your kids to attend my excellent alma mater—and to make sure everyone, regardless of background, has an equal opportunity.

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