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Dallas Teachers Hope To Stop Home-Rule Effort Through Court Action Friday

Bill Zeeble
Dallas school trustees are responsible for picking the 15-member commission that'll write the home-rule charter. The first four people they chose are supposed to be "elected," according to wording in the state law. Teachers argue they weren't.

Dallas teachers hope a court hearing Friday will stop the home-rule effort designed to change the way the Dallas school district operates. The Alliance/AFT teacher organization brought the lawsuit.

Rena Honea is president of the Dallas Alliance/AFT, the largest teacher group in the city. On Thursday, her organization sued the district, saying it broke the law when it named the first four members of the commission that will write a home-rule charter.

She says wording in the 1995 home-rule law says those teachers named by the district advisory committee must be elected at the campus level.

“Our belief is that hasn’t happened,” Honea said. “So they have no legal authority to make any recommendations on anything. There should be some evidence that an election was held at the campus level -- ballots, some record of a tally showing these people were nominated and elected by the faculty.”

DISD spokesman Jon Dahlander said the suit is no surprise because home-rule is so new and unclearly written. He said the district’s lawyers will be ready with a response.

“With the way the home-rule law was written,” Dahlander said, “it was inevitable that at some point in time we were going to have some kind of legal challenge. Whether anyone knew it would be this soon, I don’t know. This may be the first, but it’s probably not going to be the last.”

The Alliance/AFT is seeking a temporary injunction to put the process on hold. The case is in Judicial District Judge Carl Ginsberg’s court.

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