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Dallas School Trustees Don't Buy A Takeover

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By Bill Zeeble, KERA News

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/kera/local-kera-822329.mp3

Dallas, TX – Dallas school administrators offered no comment to reports of a possible district takeover by the city of Dallas. KERA's Bill Zeeble talked to school board members who didn't buy the story.

That Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert's exploring a possible takeover of the schools caught Trustee Leigh Ann Ellis off guard. She says the Dallas Morning News story surprised fellow trustees too. Ellis says academics in the district are improving, and so is the embarrassing budget deficit. So she questions a takeover.

Ellis: Honestly my gut says no, this is not realistic. If the board was dysfunctional and schools weren't working, I'dsay yes, but at this point, no.

School board president Jack Lowe says he needs a clarification from Mayor Leppert, who campaigned on Education. Lowe says the district's financial picture is better than it was in the fall, when the DISD faced an 84 million dollar deficit. It's now down to 30 million, and Lowe expects it'll be wiped out by next year. He's convinced the state will not order a takeover.

Lowe: I'm a betting man. If you want to make a bet about whether the commissioner is fixing to appoint a conservator or not, I will take the no". We've got a lot to do, we've got campuses in distress but my view is we've made a lot of progress and we expect to see more this year.

In a written statement, the district said no matter who's in charge, the DISD remains committed academic improvement.

Send E-mail to Bill Zeeble