Monday, April 20, 2015

Title VI Civil Rights Complaint filed 3-25-15 to Department of Education against DISD

Filed by Bill Betzen & 11 others

Dallas residents pay taxes to Dallas ISD expecting the money to be distributed equally among students.  The Texas Education Agency (TEA) defines such “regular expenditures” as “costs to provide the basic services for education/instruction to students not in special education (program intent code 11).”

In addition to that funding, federal, state and local sources provide extra money that is intended to cover special educational needs for children of poverty, children with various types of handicaps, and/or children who do not speak English. Need-based money is to be in addition to the base funding per student. 

But, instead of supplementing these “regular expenditure” funds per child, Dallas ISD has supplanted or replaced “regular expenditures” with the need-based funds. This effort appears to be centered in schools with high levels of poverty or special needs children and children who do not speak English, all schools with high levels of need based funding.  In some cases this can be illegal and result in criminal charges.  (Google both words together, supplement and supplant, and you will find many articles on this issue.)

This removal of basic resources from children of poverty, special education children, and children who do not speak English, is reflected in deteriorating school achievement. At the end of the 2013-14 school year, there was a 25% increase in the number of Dallas ISD schools on the annual Texas PEG List of failing campuses.  DISD went from 57 to 71 such failing schools.  Among these Peg schools are the “Improvement Required” schools that are in even worse shape. That number went from 34 to 43, a 26% increase. These were schools with less regular educational funding on average than the DISD schools serving more affluent populations.  They serve more needy students with less “regular expenditure” funding per child.

Campus climate surveys by teachers clearly reflect these inequalities in school safety.  The inequities in funding are also clearly shown on the Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS) Financial Standard Reports web site: http://tea.texas.gov/financialstandardreports/ . 

Teacher staffing patterns clearly reflect that the least experienced teachers are the ones serving in these most vulnerable, underfunded schools. See the Data Packet section under Statistics and Reports on the My Data Portal at https://mydata.dallasisd.org/ to study teacher tenure school by school.

This pattern of replacing local funding dollars with federal and state dollars is not shown in neighboring districts such as Irving or Frisco.  Austin ISD doubles the funding in their most needy schools and does not have the achievement issues that have plagued Dallas, especially during these past two years.

Finally, with DISD facing these most fundamental of imbalances in the allocation of resources, proposals for choice schools only promise more segregation for at-risk, Limited English Proficiency (LEP), and special education students on failing campuses while continuing the lack of adequate resources to serve them.

In the complaint document (see www.dallasisd.us), & updates being made, complainants are asking for immediate fraud audits of the State Compensatory funds that were used to illegally supplant regular education funding on Title I campuses, as well as the irregular allocation of High School Allotment funds. They demand investigations into the history of the movement of regular education funds in DISD that appear to have repeatedly been denied the poorest DISD students.

Data and stories of suffering are continuing to be collected to help prove the damages done to thousands of DISD’s underserved children of poverty.   Please send them to, Bill Betzen, bbetzen@aol.com

Monday, March 30, 2015

DISD Title VI Complaint updates - WORSE NUMBERS!

The Title VI Complaint filed 3-25-15 by 12 Dallas residents is online and linked from www.dallasisd.us.  A link to a pdf copy to download of the 41 page complaint is here.

That complaint uses data from both the TEA PEIMS Financial web site and the DISD My Data Portal web site to clearly show that as Title 1 funding increased in a school due to increased poverty, and as other need based federal funding increased, there is a clear pattern in Dallas ISD of local school funding decreasing. 

Often the difference in local funding was over $1,000 per student, even over $2,000! The same week the complaint was filed the TEA uploaded financial data that is a year newer.  The new data reflects the same patterns documented in the complaint, but with some fascinating adjustments that will be addressed as they are studied.

Here are links to the actual 2013-14 spending for the two DISD elementary schools mentioned in the WFAA coverage on this complaint to DOE:   Stevens Park Elementary compared with Lakewood Elementary.  Notice that the difference between them grew by 16 dollars in Regular Education funding for each student in the dollars actually spent and shown in the updated data this week. The chart below is a comparison of these two budgets for all funds allocated. 

The PEG failing schools list for Texas for 2015-16 includes Stevens Park Elementary.   Is this lack of funding a reason? 

Lakewood and Stevens Park elementary schools in Dallas ISD budgets compared
Click on image above to enlarge or print.

Due to the needs of the 96.4% of Stevens Park students in poverty it was documented that they required an average of $2,513 in more funding per student than the students at Lakewood where only 12.6% of students lived in poverty.  But once Lakewood was given $1,956 more in "Regular" funding, along with other adjustments, this difference shrunk to an average of $1,014 more available per student at Stevens Park than at Lakemont.  Does that mean the money allocated to those special needs had been over-allocated by almost $1,500 and DISD can correct that by taking away regular education funds to use in other locations in the district? 

As you study either 2013-14 or 2014-15 budgets for all the schools in DISD you find a very consistent pattern of Regular Education funds decreasing as Title 1 and other needs-based supplementary funds increase from school to school.  It is a pattern repeated in school after school.

While the underfunding of Texas schools at the state level is one reason for this pattern, this pattern does not exist to the extent it does in DISD in several other districts that were studied and that are mentioned in the complaint.  It is illegal! Districts avoid it!  Google the words - supplanting title 1 funds Texas - to see what is posted widely about this illegal practice.

This is all public record.  The 2013-14 budget report was used for the complaint filed last week against DISD for using Title 1 funds to replace Regular Education funds.  The resulting money appears to then have been used to fund special projects in DISD, including millions of dollars in additional administrative salaries and positions.


One arguments used is that the higher tenured teachers at Lakemont Elementary have higher salaries and that is the reason for this $1,956 difference in "Regular" funding.   Here is a study done on that argument that shows the salary differential only accounts for less than 10% of this difference:

Per student teacher salary comparison Lakewood & Stevens Park Elementary, Dallas ISD

Since filing the complaint on 3-25-15 even worse situations have been uncovered.

Worse Numbers!

If you select out the 19 current elementary "Improvement Required" failing DISD schools that are not receiving extra funds from Imagine 2020, a painful pattern emerges in the 2013-14 budget. These schools received an average of $35,000 less in Reqular Education funding than the average DISD schools that were ALREADY deficient in such funding, consistent with allegations in the complaint filed last week.
(See spreadsheet at bottom of this blog for this data by school. Email bbetzen@aol.com for Excel format file to check and then report back your finding.)


The public is encouraged to look over these financial documents and check the patterns with the new TEA data just downloaded last week with 2014-15 budgets and the 2013-14 actual expenditures. We now have much more recent data that was not used in this complaint, but shows the same pattern. The more the public knows about this the better!

Go to http://tea.texas.gov/financialstandardreports/  for the main web site for financial data on Texas schools.  You may also Google “PEIMS financial” to pull it up any time.  At the top of the page for district budgets on that page, is a link to a document that explains all the terms used in these documents:
AboutBudget 2015 .  

The more the public studies this data, and the law, the more they will be upset about the budgeting in DISD by DISD administration, and in Austin by the Texas Legislature for underfunding public schools.   The "rich" schools in Dallas, like Lakewood, who are getting more Regular Education funding that the "poor" schools are really not winners.  They are just getting a taste of how underfunded all Texas schools are if the "Regular Education" finding is distributed equally as it should be.  In DISD that agony was being hidden by manipulating Regular Education monies.


Here is an article published today on this type of funding irregularity:  http://www.educationdive.com/news/4-takeaways-to-note-from-education-trusts-school-funding-report/380189/   Sadly the DISD irregularity shows a much greater percentage of the local funding being moved from some of the most poverty stricken schools in DISD than the 10% difference mentioned in this article.

The chart below tracks the 2013-14 allocation for "Regular" money from local taxes allocated to Dallas ISD elementary school campuses.  On the Texas Education Agency web site is a documented "About Budget 2014" that defines these expenditures as "Regular program expenditures are costs to provide the basic services for education/instruction to students not in special education (program intent code 11). "   How does it make sense for these expenditures to go down as the poverty level in a school goes up?

Using a $4400 Floor for Regular Education $$: DISD Elementary  Title I Campuses
School 2013-2014 Enrolled Total Reg.Ed At a Floor $4400 $$ Difference  
Bayles  $            4,454 563  $   2,507,602  $           2,477,200  $             (30,402) IR
Blanton  $            3,729 691  $   2,576,739  $           3,040,400  $             463,661 IR
Bryan  $            4,036 591  $   2,385,276  $           2,600,400  $             215,124 IR
Burleson  $            3,315 723  $   2,396,745  $           3,181,200  $             784,455 IR
Cochran  $            3,667 581  $   2,130,527  $           2,556,400  $             425,873 IR
Douglass  $            4,341 580  $   2,517,780  $           2,552,000  $               34,220 IR
Ervin  $            4,051 659  $   2,669,609  $           2,899,600  $             229,991 IR
Halliday  $            4,646 626  $   2,908,396  $           2,754,400  $           (153,996) IR
Hernandez  $            4,500 388  $   1,746,000  $           1,707,200  $             (38,800) IR
Hogg  $            6,039 256  $   1,545,984  $           1,126,400  $           (419,584) IR
Hotchkiss  $            3,362 1019  $  3,425,878  $           4,483,600  $         1,057,722 IR
Kennedy  $            4,042 714  $   2,885,988  $           3,141,600  $             255,612 IR
Lee  $            4,657 363  $   1,690,491  $           1,597,200  $             (93,291) IR
Lowe  $            3,103 647  $  2,007,641  $           2,846,800  $            839,159 IR
McNair  $            4,334 794  $   3,441,196  $           3,493,600  $               52,404 IR
Mills  $            3,988 504  $   2,009,952  $           2,217,600  $             207,648 IR
Moreno  $            4,177 522  $   2,180,394  $           2,296,800  $             116,406 IR
Titche  $            3,405 996  $  3,391,380  $          4,382,400  $            991,020 IR
Wilmer Hutchins  $            4,155 902  $   3,747,810  $           3,968,800  $             220,990 IR
Carr  $            4,391 415  $   1,822,265  $           1,826,000  $                  3,735 IR 2020
Carver  $            5,434 547  $   2,972,398  $           2,406,800  $           (565,598) IR 2020
Oliver  $            4,759 384  $   1,827,456  $           1,689,600  $           (137,856) IR 2020
OM Roberts  $            4,688 648  $   3,037,824  $           2,851,200  $           (186,624) IR 2020
Pease  $            4,008 605  $   2,424,840  $           2,662,000  $             237,160 IR 2020
             
Alexander  $            4,998 381  $   1,904,238  $           1,676,400  $           (227,838)  
Anderson  $            3,295 762  $   2,510,790  $           3,352,800  $             842,010  
Anne Frank  $            4,091 1171  $   4,790,561  $           5,152,400  $             361,839  
Anson Jones  $            3,661 723  $   2,646,903  $           3,181,200  $             534,297  
Arcadia Park  $            4,128 698  $   2,881,344  $           3,071,200  $             189,856  
Barbara Jordan  $            3,401 613  $   2,084,813  $           2,697,200  $             612,387  
Bethune  $            3,646 738  $   2,690,748  $           3,247,200  $             556,452  
Blair  $            3,431 784  $   2,689,904  $           3,449,600  $             759,696  
Botello  $            4,076 525  $   2,139,900  $           2,310,000  $             170,100  
Bowie  $            3,937 491  $   1,933,067  $           2,160,400  $             227,333  
Brashear  $            3,974 659  $   2,618,866  $           2,899,600  $             280,734  
Budd  $            4,330 552  $   2,390,160  $           2,428,800  $               38,640  
Burnett  $            3,735 1081  $   4,037,535  $           4,756,400  $             718,865  
Bush  $            4,604 669  $   3,080,076  $           2,943,600  $           (136,476)  
Bushman  $            3,661 568  $   2,079,448  $           2,499,200  $             419,752  
Cabell  $            4,078 624  $   2,544,672  $           2,745,600  $             200,928  
Caillet  $            4,046 699  $   2,828,154  $           3,075,600  $             247,446  
Callejo  $            4,050 655  $   2,652,750  $           2,882,000  $             229,250  
Carpenter  $            4,751 384  $   1,824,384  $           1,689,600  $           (134,784)  
Casa View  $            3,986 748  $   2,981,528  $           3,291,200  $             309,672  
Central  $            4,649 492  $   2,287,308  $           2,164,800  $           (122,508)  
Cigarroa  $            3,312 665  $   2,202,480  $           2,926,000  $             723,520  
Conner  $            3,774 663  $   2,502,162  $           2,917,200  $             415,038  
Cowart  $            4,036 603  $   2,433,708  $           2,653,200  $             219,492  
Cuellar  $            3,685 761  $   2,804,285  $           3,348,400  $             544,115  
De Zavala  $            3,290 428  $   1,408,120  $           1,883,200  $             475,080  
Degoyler  $            5,228 376  $   1,965,728  $           1,654,400  $           (311,328)  
Dorsey  $            3,867 525  $   2,030,175  $           2,310,000  $             279,825  
Dunbar  $            4,048 594  $   2,404,512  $           2,613,600  $             209,088  
Earhart  $            4,445 241  $   1,071,245  $           1,060,400  $             (10,845)  
Field  $            4,070 472  $   1,921,040  $           2,076,800  $             155,760  
Foster  $            3,910 850  $   3,323,500  $           3,740,000  $             416,500  
Gabe Allen  $            4,434 571  $   2,531,814  $           2,512,400  $             (19,414)  
Gill  $            3,684 771  $   2,840,364  $           3,392,400  $             552,036  
Gonzalez  $            4,184 689  $   2,882,776  $           3,031,600  $             148,824  
Gooch  $            4,549 275  $   1,250,975  $           1,210,000  $             (40,975)  
Guzick  $            4,195 762  $   3,196,590  $           3,352,800  $             156,210  
Hall  $            4,023 575  $   2,313,225  $           2,530,000  $             216,775  
Hawthorne  $            4,127 456  $   1,881,912  $           2,006,400  $             124,488  
Henderson  $            4,272 516  $   2,204,352  $           2,270,400  $               66,048  
Hexter  $            4,450 599  $   2,665,550  $           2,635,600  $             (29,950)  
Highland Meadows  $            3,728 865  $   3,224,720  $           3,806,000  $             581,280  
holland  $            5,090 314  $   1,598,260  $           1,381,600  $           (216,660)  
Hooe  $            4,004 461  $   1,845,844  $           2,028,400  $             182,556  
Houston  $            6,065 230  $   1,394,950  $           1,012,000  $           (382,950)  
Ireland  $            3,623 584  $   2,115,832  $           2,569,600  $             453,768  
John Q Adams  $            3,686 685  $   2,524,910  $           3,014,000  $             489,090  
Johnston  $            3,951 486  $   1,920,186  $           2,138,400  $             218,214  
Junkins  $            3,768 750  $   2,826,000  $           3,300,000  $             474,000  
Kahn  $            3,556 670  $   2,382,520  $           2,948,000  $             565,480  
Kiest  $            3,675 716  $   2,631,300  $           3,150,400  $             519,100  
Kleberg  $            3,581 619  $   2,216,639  $           2,723,600  $             506,961  
Knight  $            3,873 612  $   2,370,276  $           2,692,800  $             322,524  
Kramer  $            4,280 559  $   2,392,520  $           2,459,600  $               67,080  
Lagow  $            4,673 526  $   2,457,998  $           2,314,400  $           (143,598)  
Lakewood  $            4,758 851  $   4,049,058  $           3,744,400  $           (304,658)  
Lanier  $            4,057 590  $   2,393,630  $           2,596,000  $             202,370  
Lee Mcshan  $            3,550 679  $   2,410,450  $           2,987,600  $             577,150  
Lipscomb  $            4,305 527  $   2,268,735  $           2,318,800  $               50,065  
LO Donnald  $            4,254 489  $   2,080,206  $           2,151,600  $               71,394  
Macon  $            4,134 547  $   2,261,298  $           2,406,800  $             145,502  
Maple Lawn  $            3,792 602  $   2,282,784  $           2,648,800  $             366,016  
Marcus  $            3,420 972  $  3,324,240  $           4,276,800  $            952,560  
Marsali  $            3,762 540  $   2,031,480  $           2,376,000  $             344,520  
Martinez  $            3,851 501  $   1,929,351  $           2,204,400  $             275,049  
Mata  $            5,787 224  $   1,296,288  $              985,600  $           (310,688)  
Medrano  $            4,128 597  $   2,464,416  $           2,626,800  $             162,384  
Milam  $            3,744 267  $      999,648  $           1,174,800  $             175,152  
Miller  $            4,317 394  $   1,700,898  $           1,733,600  $               32,702  
MLK  $            4,521 485  $   2,192,685  $           2,134,000  $             (58,685)  
Moseley  $            3,346 778  $   2,603,188  $           3,423,200  $             820,012  
Mount Auburn  $            3,355 599  $   2,009,645  $           2,635,600  $             625,955  
N Adams  $            4,527 573  $   2,593,971  $           2,521,200  $             (72,771)  
Peabody  $            4,234 572  $   2,421,848  $           2,516,800  $               94,952  
Peeler  $            4,698 399  $   1,874,502  $           1,755,600  $           (118,902)  
Pershing  $            4,292 535  $   2,296,220  $           2,354,000  $               57,780  
Pleasant Grove  $            4,418 613  $   2,708,234  $           2,697,200  $             (11,034)  
Polk  $            4,233 575  $   2,433,975  $           2,530,000  $               96,025  
Preston Hollow  $            4,891 430  $   2,103,130  $           1,892,000  $           (211,130)  
Ray  $            4,240 403  $   1,708,720  $           1,773,200  $               64,480  
Reagan  $            3,839 584  $   2,241,976  $           2,569,600  $             327,624 supplanting $2000 in Title I
Reinhardt  $            4,165 642  $   2,673,930  $           2,824,800  $             150,870  
Rhoads  $            4,035 658  $   2,655,030  $           2,895,200  $             240,170  
Rice  $            3,747 584  $   2,188,248  $           2,569,600  $             381,352  
Richardson  $            4,778 600  $   2,866,800  $           2,640,000  $           (226,800)  
RL Thornton  $            4,254 489  $   2,080,206  $           2,151,600  $               71,394  
Rogers  $            4,209 508  $   2,138,172  $           2,235,200  $               97,028  
Rosemont  $            4,773 441  $   2,104,893  $           1,940,400  $           (164,493)  
Rowe  $            3,844 533  $   2,048,852  $           2,345,200  $             296,348  
Rowe  $            3,844 533  $   2,048,852  $           2,345,200  $             296,348  
Runyon  $            3,829 733  $   2,806,657  $           3,225,200  $             418,543  
Russell  $            2,365 754  $  1,783,210  $          3,317,600  $         1,534,390  
Salazar  $            3,705 749  $   2,775,045  $           3,295,600  $             520,555  
Salivar  $            4,528 1006  $   4,555,168  $           4,426,400  $           (128,768)  
San Jacinto  $            3,761 520  $   1,955,720  $           2,288,000  $             332,280  
Sanger  $            4,218 561  $   2,366,298  $           2,468,400  $             102,102  
Seagoville  $            3,980 623  $   2,479,540  $           2,741,200  $             261,660  
Seagoville North  $            4,192 685  $   2,871,520  $           3,014,000  $             142,480  
Silberstein  $            3,517 783  $   2,753,811  $           3,445,200  $             691,389  
Smith  $            3,820 750  $   2,865,000  $           3,300,000  $             435,000  
Soto  $            3,692 701  $   2,588,092  $           3,084,400  $             496,308  
Starks  $            4,915 325  $   1,597,375  $           1,430,000  $           (167,375)  
Stemmons  $            4,139 828  $   3,427,092  $           3,643,200  $             216,108  
Stevens Park  $            2,854 749  $  2,137,646  $           3,295,600  $         1,157,954  
Stone  $            4,521 338  $   1,528,098  $           1,487,200  $             (40,898)  
Stonewall Jackson  $            4,773 614  $   2,930,622  $           2,701,600  $           (229,022)  
Tatum  $            4,133 662  $   2,736,046  $           2,912,800  $             176,754  
Tatum  $            4,133 662  $   2,736,046  $           2,912,800  $             176,754  
Terry  $            4,789 402  $   1,925,178  $           1,768,800  $           (156,378)  
Tolbert  $            4,373 457  $   1,998,461  $           2,010,800  $               12,339  
Truett  $            3,135 1047  $  3,282,345  $          4,606,800  $         1,324,455  
Turner  $            2,882 370  $  1,066,340  $          1,628,000  $            561,660  
Umphrey Lee  $            3,770 645  $   2,431,650  $           2,838,000  $             406,350  
Urban Park  $            4,378 606  $   2,653,068  $           2,666,400  $               13,332  
Walnut Hill  $            4,942 358  $   1,769,236  $           1,575,200  $           (194,036)  
Webster  $            3,356 654  $   2,194,824  $           2,877,600  $             682,776  
Weiss  $            4,105 532  $   2,183,860  $           2,340,800  $             156,940  
Williams  $            4,617 315  $   1,454,355  $           1,386,000  $             (68,355)  
Winnetka  $            3,729 859  $   3,203,211  $           3,779,600  $             576,389  
Withers  $            4,403 437  $   1,924,111  $           1,922,800  $               (1,311)  
Young  $            4,133 595  $   2,459,135  $           2,618,000  $             158,865  
Zaragoza  $            4,352 455  $   1,980,160  $           2,002,000  $               21,840  
Reg. Ed $$  $            4,103 598  $   2,400,605  $           2,630,748  $             230,143  
  Per Student Students $$ Total Reg. Ed    
Avg. change with $4,400      Total  $  33,831,076  
 not2020butIR   $        271,485     Per school  $       230,143.38  
 notIR  $        238,458          
IR2020  $     (129,837)