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