What’s the most interesting thing about this meeting? People were shaking off stereotypes like crazy. First person I saw there was Trustee Joyce Foreman. She was warm; she was electric; she was reasonable. She often gets an unfair shake as the crazy no vote on the board, but she was making a lot of sense tonight.
All of the trustees got 5 minutes to discuss three issues: The bond proposal, the Superintendent Search, and Teacher retention.
Foreman was up first.
She opposes the bond deal. We all know that, but her reason for doing so got fleshed out to the supportive crowd tonight. It’s unfair. “Equality or no bond” she said. The huge bond package, according to Foreman, has the lion’s share of the funds going to communities that are chronically invested (yes, we’re trademarking that) as opposed to the communities in south and west Dallas that get ignored year after year.
She kept the peace and made sure the crowd was respectful of everyone even as she threw an obvious and accusatory glance at Trustee Cowan whom she implied was getting more information than her on DISD issues.
As far as the superintendent search, it was more of the dialogue we’ve come to know her for. Anti-Miles and anti-TEI rhetoric.
Trustee Blackburn was next.
I want to start off by applauding Dr. Blackburn for accidentally running out of time and not being able to talk about the Superintendent search. You got us. We were all tricked.
As for the bond, Pinkston and Edison could receive many of the funds in the bond, but Dr. Blackburn wants to focus on what he calls “need.” Schools that are overcrowded, long lunch lines, etc.
The teacher retention issue got most of Dr. Blackburn’s time. According to him, 2200 or 22% of DISD teachers left this year. Why? Because they aren’t being treated well.
Trustee Eric Cowan was last.
I can’t help feel that he is bored by these town halls. I’ve met the guy and he’s plenty nice. He’s very intelligent and he clearly cares about the kids. That said, I don’t think he really enjoys the human interaction part of his job. That or he’s just wiped out and tired from work which is totally reasonable.
As for the issues at hand, Trustee Cowan wanted to focus on “the timeline.” The tone was very much “we need it now or it’ll be a while.” The superintendent search he said we needed to potentially keep the search more local which I think makes a lot of sense.
Calm, cool, collected Cowan. The 3 C’s of trustee Cowan. Perfect way to round out the Trustee driven session.
On a final note, the crowd was awesome. In the same vein of throwing off stereotypes, South Dallas gets characterized as a place of uninformed unengaged and uneducated loud mouths who don’t vote or do anything important. NOT TRUE. The crowd was active, engaged, passionate, and above all, super well informed on the issues that impact their community. Plus my mom lives down the street so I hate when people think that about the place I grew up.
Also, anyone else remember when SW Center Mall was Red bird mall and was super vibrant? I know it's been over a decade, but those were good times. Believe it or not there was even a movie theater once upon a time.