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Education

After Tornado, Some Dallas ISD Schools Are So Damaged They Could Be ‘A Total Loss’

Dallas ISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa offers details on how district students forced out of their schools by Sunday's tornado  damage will continue getting an education
Bill Zeeble
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KERA News
Dallas ISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa offers details on how district students forced out of their schools by Sunday's tornado damage will continue getting an education

Dallas ISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa spent part of his Monday driving through parts of his ravaged school district to survey the damage.

Walnut Hill Elementary in northwest Dallas could be a total loss.

Nearby, Cary Middle School was even worse.

“When I drove by there ...  I saw a police vehicle that had been lifted from the parking lot and thrown very close to the school,” Hinojosa said. “There was significant damage throughout that school. I would anticipate that would also be a total loss.”

Sunday night’s tornado caused Dallas ISD to close 20 campuses on Monday. Twelve schools remained closed on Tuesday, and Walnut Hill and Cary won’t re-open any time soon.

Damage to Walnut Hill Elementary in Dallas after Sunday's tornado.
Credit Alan Melson / KERA News
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KERA News
Damage to Walnut Hill Elementary in Dallas after Sunday's tornado.

Thomas Jefferson High School was also damaged. Hinojosa hopes the high school can be fixed by August.

Meanwhile, students must stay in school, so these kids will be bused to different campuses starting Wednesday. Cary’s students will be sent to Benjamin Franklin and Francisco Medrano middle schools. Thomas Jefferson students will be sent to Thomas Edison Learning Center. And Walnut Hill students will be assigned to Tom Field Elementary.

Three hard-hit elementary schools in northwest Dallas -- Burnet, Cigarroa and Pershing -- need several days to reopen. The district hopes those campuses will be ready on Monday. In the meantime, students at those schools will report to Loos Field House starting Wednesday.

“Oncor has told us that we may not have access to those facilities for several days,” Hinojosa said. “But we cannot let these students stay home. ...We’ll have as much of a resemblance of school as we can. We need to get parents back to work.”

Hinojosa said some details are still being finalized with discussion set for an upcoming school board meeting. 

LEARN MORE

Check Dallas ISD's website to keep up with the plan for affected schools and the full list of school closures.