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Position Paper on Home Rule Charter (1)

Position Paper on Home Rule Charter (1)

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Published by: Schutze on Mar 12, 2014
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 Position Paper on Home Rule Charter: How to Maximize Latino Involvement with DISD
History of Dallas and DISD:
Much has been written and chronicled about DISD, the Latino community and the desegregation process since 1971. Three major events and processes took place in 1971, 1978, and later 1985. The first was when U.S. District Judge William M. Taylor appointed three citizens to serve on the original Tri-Ethnic Committee. This committee was charged with advising the Judge on all matters dealing with the desegregation of DISD schools. The committee was expanded to fifteen members as the Judge asked each original member to recommend four other persons to serve. I was the Vice Chair of the TEC and I turned to various organizations and persons for advice and input. Keep in mind that DISD had an enrollment of over 170,000 students, 8% being Latino. Being a college grad and native Dallasiste, I identified several sectors in our community plus key skills set that was needed in order to better represent our community. I chose the following areas: Legal, education, and barrio resident, and federal government. Several of these persons also had children in DISD, all with vested interests in public education. Six years later, I was asked to serve on a planning committee that formulated the Dallas Alliance Task Force
a committee that would again provide the federal judge with more comprehensive input and more importantly work intensely
devising an education plan that was adopted by the court 
creating the Magnet Schools, expansion of bilingual education and developing racial quotas for administrators and teachers. I once again asked some of the original members
to serve on this Task Force, adding a representative from higher education and an additional grassroots barrio leader
seven in total. These names were submitted to Jack Lowe Sr., chair of the Dallas Alliance and all were approved due to the cross-section credibility that was represented in these people. (See attachment for population and demographic changes taking place during this period. In the mid-
the Dallas Together Task Force was created
by the Dallas Citizen’s
Council to make a series of recommendations for the inclusion of more minority involvement in Dallas. Tom Dunning, led this effort and I was once again asked to provide input on the task force members representing the Latino community. Over 20 persons were selected and a third were Latino businessmen and women.
Home Rule Process:
Unfortunately the leadership in this effort was pre-empted by the media prior to allowing the community knowing much about its purpose, intent, and goals. Unlike the three previous community based efforts cited, full transparency on a succinct message, leadership disclosure, has hampered this process. Key credible and respected leadership has to be a keystone to any buy-in by the community. These
three movements in the 70’s and 80’s not only had the support of the Mayor, but visible involvement from the Dallas Citizen’s Council, minority chambers of
commerce, and the religious community.
DISD and Governance:
During this period, 1971 to the present, DISD has had a minimum of one to a maximum of three Latinos serving on the school board at any time. The levels of effectiveness culminated when Joe May was elected in the early 2000s and served with Rafael Anchia, Jerome Garza, Trini Garza and Dr. Edwin Flores at given times. DISD has had at least 10 Latinos serve on the board with various levels of effectiveness including a Board President in Rene Castilla. The present school population of 70% with over 55,000 LEP students should reflect at least a minimum of three trustees being Latino: Oak Cliff/Kessler Park; Lovefield, Central and East Dallas, and the emerging Pleasant Grove area. In time, the diminishing African American population will possibly allow a fourth Latino to be elected within the next five years. The Latino community has a history of poor voter turnout due to the large number of non-registered voters, youth population, some apathy, and a lack of exciting and engaging Latino candidates. DISD has also had three Latinos as Superintendents: Yvonne Gonzalez, Baldemar Rojas, and Michael Hinojosa
all having minimal tenures marked with controversy and with the exception of Hinojosa, very short tenure.
Home Rule Charter Commission Selection Process:
There are those in the community that feel that this process will jump-start and enhance Latino participation at the governance level. Assuming the 25,000+ signatures are obtained, the DISD Board of Education will appoint a 15 member commission that will reflect the community and 50% will have to be Latino registered voters and residents of DISD. Possibly 7 others will be considered from
the District Wide Advisory Committee, or with the mayor’s input.
 It is for this reason that I recommend that the leaders involved learn a bit from our history. Identify key Latinos from the following sectors and parts of the community:
An effective and articulate bilingual teacher

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