September 2023 Newsletter

September 23, 2023

Greetings, District 2!

This is the first in a series of monthly newsletters I plan to send as I serve as District 2 Dallas ISD Trustee, aimed at informing our community about recent happenings, decisions, and initiatives that shape our Dallas ISD educational community. Before diving in, I want to recognize and thank my fellow Trustee Ben Mackey, from District 7, for his help in the formation and content.

Over the summer and in these first weeks of school, I have enjoyed meeting with principals, parents, and administrators, as well as visiting campuses to get to know our school communities even better. The school year has started with energy and enthusiasm across the district!

Dallas ISD District 2 Monthly Updates: Dallas ISD is off and running and we are excited about the school year ahead. A few highlight items:

Dallas ISD Exceeds Pre-Pandemic Levels on State Exam: Despite a new, more rigorous state exam that minimizes multiple choice questions, Dallas ISD notably grew student outcomes this year, and now exceeds pre-pandemic levels for overall achievement AND closed achievement gaps in reading and made significant gains in math. When you look at individual grade levels, Dallas ISD shows gains in 27 out of 36 categories with no change in 5 more of them. While we have a lot further to go, the momentum for improving student outcomes is picking up steam fast!

Record Low Number of Teacher Vacancies: It feels good to be back to a very normal-feeling school year! On the first day of school, Dallas ISD had a record low number of teacher vacancies, with 70 total vacancies out of more than 10,000 teachers across the district. This is the lowest number of first-day-of-school vacancies since Dallas ISD has been keeping track.

Bond Construction Updates relating to District 2 school construction:

  1. Ben Milam: flooring replacement, administration office renovation completed over the summer with the secure vestibule, security upgrades, and exterior improvements target completion in spring 2024.
  2. Geneva Heights: construction in progress, expected to open fall 2024 for students.
  3. Woodrow Wilson: renovation of administration office, secure vestibule, sidewalk, ramp completed over summer 2023. Roof replacement, select HVAC replacement, security upgrades, window restoration target completion in spring of 2024.
  4. Franklin: HVAC upgrades, ceiling/light replacement in progress.
  5. Longfellow: pre-construction planning in progress. Project team is working with City of Dallas to obtain a building permit.

August Board Meeting Debrief: This month, Dallas ISD had its regular board briefing and meeting. I’ve chosen to highlight three of the most important items below:

Tax Rate Adoption: Dallas ISD adopted its 2023 tax rate in the total amount of $1.013835 per $100 of assessed value. This is a reduction of more than $0.17 from last year’s adopted rate of $1.184935. Any increase in the actual amount homeowner’s tax bill is due to a higher appraised value, not Dallas ISD’s tax rate. Our tax rate is the legal minimum tax rate we are allowed to adopt per state law.  

School Safety: In Early August, Superintendent Elizalde briefed the board and public about the deep work that has gone into ensuring all our schools are outfitted with the highest levels of security possible. Dallas ISD is moving forward with its safety plan to work expeditiously to ensure compliance with the new state law that requires an armed guard at every Dallas ISD school.

Vape/E-Cigarette Policy Change: The Board amended the Student Code of Conduct to comply with the recently enacted state law which mandates that a student caught with a vape device on campus, within 300-feet of school property, or at a school-sponsored event must be placed in the Discipline Alternative Education Program (DAEP). 

As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you have thoughts, ideas, questions, concerns, or simply want to say hello!


Sarah Weinberg