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Are DISD School Closings An Effort To “Clean Up” The Neighborhood?

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By Michael Hubbard

Public hearings have been held by the Dallas Independent School District to discuss their recommendation to “consolidate” 11 middle and elementary school campuses.   I need to get one thing out of the way. These campuses are being considered for closing.  I refuse to use the word consolidation.

Is it any surprise that all of the campuses under consideration are located in some of the more underserved zip codes in Dallas County?

Am I being paranoid in thinking that this is a part of some larger gentrification strategy? The ripple effect of closing neighborhood schools is far reaching.  All of the schools being considered for closing are in declining neighborhoods.  Close the neighborhood schools  and you are issuing a death sentence for these communities.

Already low home values will plummet even more and any hope of economic development can be put to rest.  Additionally, the unappealing aesthetic effect of large, empty structures sitting abandoned and becoming a nest for criminal activity will be devastating to the psyche of these communities.

It’s not unreasonable to expect mass exodus as residents seek neighborhoods that have a school in close proximity.  Which brings me back to my question regarding gentrification.  Would closing schools be a strategy to “cleanse” a neighborhood?

Several of these schools are located in areas that are currently undergoing drastic changes in demographics.   Would closing these campuses help to speed up the process? Citizens need to show up in large numbers and demand that DISD Trustees exhaust every possible alternative to closing schools.

Trustee Bernadette Nutall told the Dallas Observer that she has discussed with Mayor Mike Rawlings ways to bring “affordable housing to South Dallas, because economics and education go hand in hand.”  Amen Ms. Nutall!  That’s an example of the mindset Trustees need to adopt. Closing schools and firing teachers should never be an option for dealing with school district budget issues……unless there’s another strategy in play.

Michael Hubbard is a freelance writer and blogger.  A native of Dallas, TX, he is a proud graduate of James Madison High School.  Michael brings a unique, hometown perspective to his political and social commentary.  You can follow his opinions at mikeondallas.blogspot.com, and Mike can be reached at Mhubbard23@aol.com

  • Kpdover

    I think you are being a little paranoid, yes. The suggestion was inititated out of concern and consideration for all DISD. New schools are needed, technology is desperately needed and yet there are under-utilized schools and NO ONE seems willing to get on a bus. When I attended school, everyone road a bus.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OZM4UXYR7DTPN6D3NTV4J4QMT4 tim_lebsack

    re: “to “cleanse” a neighborhood”
    What does this mean?
    Why would someone what to do this?
    Why would someone allow someone else to “cleanse” their neighborhood?
    Claim your power – Your power over yourself.

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