Dallas Independent School District
TSPR recommended 193 ways to save Dallas ISD more than $69.9 million in savings over the next five years.
The Dallas Independent School District (DISD) is the second largest school district in Texas with almost three out of every four students living in poverty. In 1999-2000, the district had 28 low-performing schools--the highest number in the state--and suffered from financial and leadership instability. After more than seven months of work, my Texas School Performance Review (TSPR) team and I found that the district needs to address five major challenges:
My performance review makes 193 recommendations that, if implemented, would save Dallas ISD taxpayers more than $69.9 million over a five-year period, while reinvesting more than $16.1 million to improve educational services and other operations. Net savings are estimated to reach more than $53.8 million. That is money that could be driven directly into the classroom where it belongs. Dallas ISD must take swift, corrective action to restore trust with its community and ensure that its students receive the highest quality education. The district must ensure that school board members let administrators run day-to-day operations without interference; hold administrators and staff accountable for their actions; establish a single vision for educating students that focuses on the state's accountability system; integrate technology into the classroom; renegotiate outside contracts and provide stricter oversight of those contracts; and decentralize office staff to deliver services closer to the people they affect, allowing for a cut in central office staff by 3 percent, saving almost $4 million per year.
- Inadequate focus on education,
- Lack of accountability,
- Leadership instability and board turmoil,
- Poorly planned and managed contracted services, and
- Failure of core business functions.
By addressing these issues and others, I believe Dallas ISD can get back on track and set an example for other school districts in Texas and across the nation to follow. I am confident that school board members, school administrators, teachers and parents are all committed to making the district the best it can be for their students.
When I took office in January 1999, I set new criteria for school audits giving priority to districts with poor academic or financial performance and/or where the greatest number of students would benefit from an audit. That is what prompted me to act immediately on the request by the Dallas school board to thoroughly inspect its district. Throughout the review, the new superintendent, Dr. Mike Moses, and the school board have provided invaluable help. I commend them on their spirit and willingness to improve the Dallas Independent School District.
Carole Keeton Rylander, Texas Comptroller