The Dallas school board voted Thursday night during a public hearing to potentially close five schools, avoiding a possible state takeover of the entire district.
Three of the schools have been rated “Improvement Required” – or IR — for five straight years by the Texas Education Agency. One more failing rating for Edward Titche or C.F. Carr elementary schools, or Edison Learning Center would trigger the takeover.
West Dallas community members gathered in the Lincoln High School auditorium won a creative concession from the trustees regarding Edison. If the middle school passes this year’s test, it will relocate to nearby Pinkston High School, but keep its name.
Activist Hilda Ramirez Duarte appreciated that the school board listened to the community.
"The community did not want to leave West Dallas," she said. "And the plan to move Edison students into Pinkston is a really good plan. At least you‘re listening to the community."
Even if Edison gets another failing rating, its students will still move into Pinkston, and the high school will become a seventh through 12th grade school.
J.W. Ray Learning Center, which has mostly African-American students, will close whether it passes the state test this year or not. If Titche or Carr pass the state test, those schools will stay opened.
The decision was met with opposition. Trustee Joyce Foreman called it racist. School board member Bernadette Nutall also spoke up.
"I don’t understand why we’re not giving J.W. Ray a plan B," she said. "We’re giving all the other schools that are IR status...and I don’t think that’s fair."
Most trustees said J.W. Ray had too few students, with too few resources, to keep the school opened.
After more than an hour of discussion, trustees voted 7 to 2 to close J.W. Ray — and combine it and John F. Kennedy Learning Center at another campus.