DISTRICT ORGANIZATION AND MANAGEMENT
This chapter discusses the organization and management of the Dallas Independent School District (DISD) in seven sections:
- A. Governance
- B. Planning
- C. Policies and Procedures
- D. District Management
- E. School Management and Site-Based Decision-Making
- F. Legal Services
- G. Desegregation Order
G. DESEGREGATION ORDER
DISD has been embroiled in racial controversy since 1955 when the district refused to recognize the U.S. Supreme Court's 1954-55 command to desegregate. DISD has consequently been under court-ordered desegregation since 1960.
On July 26, 1994, the court granted DISD "unitary status," meaning the district has implemented the spirit of the order. The order for unitary status recognizes that the district's demographics have changed significantly over the years. Not only is DISD's student population not majority Anglo, it is now majority Hispanic (55 percent), with 36 percent African-American and only 8 percent Anglo. While granting unitary status, the court specified certain deficiencies that had to be remedied during a monitoring period, which they anticipated to last no more than three years. The order states that when those deficiencies were remedied, the court would lift the order.
In the order granting unitary status, the skepticism of the African-American board members and some African-American community members is recognized and commented on as "understandable" in light of the district's history of resistance to voluntary compliance.
The 1994 memorandum opinion and order regarding unitary status also contained the following statement:
"The desegregation shortcomings pointed out in this Opinion are due primarily, and perhaps solely, to failures by a few district personnel to follow through in the implementation of established desegregation policies. From time to time the Court has expressed its impatience at the apparent lack of motivation and good management responsible for these problems."
To address these concerns, DISD created the Desegregation Monitoring division of the Department of Evaluation, Accountability and Information Systems.
According to DISD's 2000-01 Adopted Budget, "Desegregation Monitoring provides technical assistance, monitoring, reporting and other services mandated in the 1987 Annotated Amended Judgment, the 1994 Memorandum Opinion and Order Granting Unitary Status and other assignments by the general superintendent. The department monitors for continuous improvement in instructional priorities and critical initiatives benefiting students, staff, parents, community and taxpayers."
Exhibit 1-25 presents the current organization for the Desegregation Monitoring division.Source: DISD Superintendent's Office, Organization Chart as of 2/26/01.
Desegregation Monitoring Division
Exhibit 1-26 presents the salaries for each position shown in the organization chart.
Exhibit 1-26Source: DISD Salary Report, January 11, 2001.
Desegregation Monitoring Division Salaries
Position Salary Asst. Superintendent $91,599 Executive Secretary $28,887 Coordinator $64,888 Specialist III $57,126 Total (Salary Only) $242,500
The total budget for the department is $561,538 and is summarized in Exhibit 1-27.
Exhibit 1-27Source: DISD Adopted Budget, 2000-01.
Desegregation Monitoring Division Budget
Line Item Amount Salary and Employee Benefits $272,894 Contracted Services $278,963 Supplies and Materials $7,189 Other Expenses $2,492 Total Budget $561,538
DISD has no action plan for seeking relief from court-ordered desegregation. Seven years after DISD was granted unitary status, the Federal Court has not lifted the desegregation order. The general turmoil that has surrounded the district in the last few years may have contributed to the fact that the district has not sought or received relief from the order. District officials say they anticipate that the court will release DISD from the order in the next two to three years, but no action plan for seeking relief is available.
Coupled with the absence of an action plan for seeking relief from the desegregation order, the court-appointed external auditor's annual report indicates that many compliance deficiencies remain before the court will remove DISD from its jurisdiction. For example, in its most recent annual report for 1999-2000, the external court auditor points out that the July 1994 Memorandum Opinion and Order Regarding Unitary Status clearly requires DISD to provide specified incentives and additional services to Majority to Minority (M-to-M) transfer students and their parents. However, the auditor states: "...little information validating the actual provision of services is provided in general reports to the Court ...and no special reports are submitted by the district's Desegregation Monitor, nor the counseling and/or Fine Arts departments, who bear the responsibility for providing the incentives to students and parents. Because of limited information, the auditor is unable to verify the level of services provided. Specifically, the auditor continues to question whether ombudsman services are provided to parents; the level of parental involvement of transfer students; the level of participation of elementary transfer students in free music lessons; and whether counselor records for transfer students are used by school personnel to improve and increase the services of the M-to-M transfer program."
The auditor's report also cites the 1994 court directive to "fund the magnets, academies and vanguards at current or higher rates" as a source of concern. The report states: "The district continues to credit the reduction in the budgets of the six magnet schools at Townview to program consolidation. Enrollment fluctuation and staff turnover are also mentioned as factors causing budget shifts from one year to another. The move to Townview occurred in 1995. Therefore, any reductions in magnet school budgets since the initial year of operation (1995-96) should not be attributed to the move. Other vanguards and magnets have been in their current locations since their establishment. The district fails to provide adequate explanation for budget shifts in schools located outside Townview. For example, the Mark Twain budget in 1994-95 was $319,449 with an enrollment of 59 students. The following year, the budget decreased to $300,900 despite an increase in enrollment to 103 students. Five school years after the Order to fund the magnets at current or higher rates, Twain has not regained its 1994-95 funding level."
The issues of non-compliance cited by the court-appointed external auditor are within the scope of responsibility of the Desegregation Monitoring Division which, to date, has not developed a viable short-term plan to correct compliance deficiencies and, according to the external auditor, in some instances has not submitted special reports detailing initiatives DISD has implemented to comply with certain elements of the July 1994 Memorandum Opinion and Order Regarding Unitary
Status-both of which are necessary to ensure that the court releases DISD from its jurisdiction.
Prepare a short-term plan to comply with the desegregation order and request that the court immediately relinquish jurisdiction and dismiss the desegregation case against the district.
The assistant superintendent for Desegregation Monitoring should immediately develop a short-term plan to comply fully with the July 1994 Memorandum Opinion and Order Regarding Unitary Status by the end of 2002-03, at which time DISD should request immediate relief from the Court and dismantle the Desegregation Monitoring Division.
While the compliance deficiencies noted in the July 1994 Memorandum Opinion and Order Regarding Unitary Status are extensive, none of them are extremely difficult to accomplish if the district implements and follows a short-term plan to correct them. DISD should be able to comply within two to three years.
IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGIES AND TIMELINE
1. The superintendent directs the assistant superintendent for Desegregation Monitoring to develop a short-term plan for addressing deficiencies noted in the July 1994 Memorandum. August 2001 2. The assistant superintendent for Desegregation Monitoring develops the plan to correct deficiencies by 2002-03. August - September 2001 3. The superintendent approves the plan. September 2001 4. The assistant superintendent for Desegregation Monitoring monitors the implementation of the plan and files the appropriate reports with the court indicating compliance initiatives. October 2001 - July 2003 5. The board requests the court relinquish jurisdiction and dismiss the desegregation order. June 2003 6. The court relinquishes its jurisdiction and dismisses the desegregation order. August 2003 7. The superintendent eliminates the Desegregation Monitoring Division. August 2003
The fiscal impact assumes that the Desegregation Monitoring Division would be eliminated in 2003-04 with savings for each year thereafter due to the elimination of the division. The total budget for the division is $561,538 as shown in Exhibit 1-27.
Recommendation 2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 Prepare a short-term plan to comply with the desegregation order and request that the court immediately relinquish jurisdiction and dismiss the desegregation case against the district. $0 $0 $561,538 $561,538 $561,538