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Uplift Bond Request Goes To Dallas Council

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings says the city is not taking sides when it comes to charter and public schools. KERA’s Bill Zeeble has more on the charter school’s request to get funding help from the city.

Uplift Education, a charter operation, has asked Dallas to create a non-profit corporation so Uplift can sell bonds to build schools. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings says the city would not be liable in a default.

Rawlings: I’m siding with kids and anybody - private, magnet, charter, neighborhood, that educates our kids well, I’m going to be a supporter of. This is not a competitive situation. When we get good schools running in our system it helps every other school in the system.

Mayor Rawlings campaigned in part, on an education platform. He says Dallas has helped other non-profit schools raise bond funds. But until now, they were all private, not charter, schools. Debbie Ratcliffe, with the Texas Education Agency, says that makes Uplift unique.

Ratcliffe: I think this is a fairly unusual situation. I’ve never heard of an independent charter holder having a city issue bonds for them before.

Uplift says some cities, including Clifton, have done what it’s asking Dallas to do. Some Dallas City Council members and educators worry the city is favoring charter schools over the DISD.

The Dallas City Council takes up the issue at Wednesday’s meeting.

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