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Dallas School Board OKs $1.4 Billion Budget, But Miles Is A No-Show

Bill Zeeble
This was to be the last school board meeting for outgoing Dallas Superintendent Mike Miles. He never showed. Ann Smisko, his choice as interim, took his seat.

Thursday night was supposed to be the last school board meeting for outgoing Dallas ISD Superintendent Mike Miles. But he was a no-show. Still, the Dallas school board had plenty to discuss, including a budget vote and a possible bond package.

Late last night, the Dallas school board approved, 7 to 2, next year’s budget of $1.38 billion dollars.

It covers additional expenses requested by Superintendent Mike Miles, who resigned this week. Most employees will get a 3 percent raise – and teachers will earn a higher base pay.

There’s also money to add pre-kindergarten classes, re-open some schools that had been closed, and create campuses that emphasize certain subjects.

Last night, trustees also discussed giving voters a chance to vote on a possible $1.6 billion dollar bond package this fall. The package would pay for new schools, extra classrooms and technology upgrades. Trustee Joyce Foreman expressed immediate disappointment.

“When I look at what’s going on in district 6 and what this bond proposal would do for district 6? I don’t see it,” Foreman said. “And I can’t support it - a bond program that does not make sure that all of our students have an opportunity. I have a campus with 22 portables. Not on here.”

But Trustee Miguel Solis challenged Foreman. He asked, didn’t most money from the last bond package get spent in southern Dallas, where Foreman’s district is located?

Solis likes the plan that trustees will tweak before deciding if it’ll even go to voters.

“I’ll roll up my sleeves,” Solis said, “go knock on the doors, do whatever I need to do, because this is going to benefit 160,000 students in this school system and it’s going to move this city forward. There are going to be a lot of cynics out there who are going to look at this and say it can’t be done.  The cynics are always going to be the cynics.”

But during Thursday night’s lengthy meeting, a familiar face was missing: Outgoing superintendent Mike Miles. He announced earlier this week he’s resigning after three years on the job.

Miles had said last night would be his last meeting.

Instead, Ann Smisko, the interim superintendent, took his place.

David Lee, with the Alliance AFT, Dallas’ largest teacher group, was surprised.

“When we arrived we saw that his name was still in front of the central seat. I’m not sure what it means but many of us did expect him to be here.” 

Tonight, the school board takes up a completely different task – discussing the next superintendent for Dallas. 

Bill Zeeble has been a full-time reporter at KERA since 1992, covering everything from medicine to the Mavericks and education to environmental issues.