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Dallas City Hall Reacts to DISD Takeover Talk

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By BJ Austin, KERA News

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/kera/local-kera-822323.mp3

Dallas, TX – Discussions about the Mayor of Dallas taking over the Dallas School District are generating some mixed reviews in and around City Hall. KERA's BJ Austin reports.

Mayor Tom Leppert is not answering any questions about his discussions with state lawmakers and others about shifting control of the Dallas School District to the Mayor's office.

Leppert's Chief of Staff, says the Mayor ran on an education platform, and these such as these should not be a surprise. But they were to a number of city council members, including Angela Hunt. She wants to hear some specifics before weighing-in.

Hunt: It's critical to really understand the Mayor's proposal is, and what he thinks his role would be, what the council's role would be, and how the city of Dallas would actually function in regards to the school district.

Council members Vonceil Jones Hill and Dwaine Caraway disagree on the need for a takeover of some sort.

Hill: We have elected competent officials on the Board of Trustees at DISD, and I'm willing to step back and let them do their job.

Caraway: There's gonna have to be somebody that s going to take a look, with a voice, that will bring some sort of stability to the situation.

Caraway applauds Mayor Leppert for bringing up the issue of a takeover. So does FORMER Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk.

Kirk: Good for the Mayor. We all got to that point. You gotta remember I was the guy that stood up in '99 at the Citizens Council luncheon and asked the whole school board to resign.

An audit of the school district's finances found the accounting system woefully inadequate. There was an 84 million dollar shortfall. There were layoffs, 500 - most of them teachers. Now a 30 million dollar shortfall remains.

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