|North Oak Cliff, Dallas, Texas - A Conflict of Interest|
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As DISD succeeds in keeping and educating students in ever greater numbers, Dallas Can Academy has fewer students in their potential client pool. The Chairman of the Dallas ISD Board of Directors, Dr. Lew Blackburn, is also employed as the Chief Business Officer for Dallas Can Academy. See http://www.dallascan.org/our-story/leadership.aspx .
As documented in government codes http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/, in chapter 171.001, the definition of "substantial interest" includes any company in which the public official receives over 10% of their income. In another section of Texas Government Code, Chapter 572, Section 572.005.7 substantial interest is defined more directly as "an employee of the business entity."
If you read the conflict of interest statement filled out by Dr. Blackburn on 2-22-13 you will see that it indicates any entity from which you receive over 10% of your income should be included as one in which you have "substantial interest." Dr. Blackburn indicated on his form that there was no such entity in which he had substantial interest, but he is a full time employee of Dallas Can, a part of Texas Can. His votes on the board certainly help, or hinder, Texas Can.
As long as DISD succeeds in their goals to better serve an ever greater percentage of students, Dallas Can Academy will have to struggle more and more with an ever smaller pool of potential clients. Dr. Blackburn works for a company directly affected by many of the decisions he makes as a member of the DISD Board of Directors.
This is a direct conflict of interest.
With recent events at the high schools of Lincoln, Madison, and now at Sunset, hundreds of parents and residents believe that there is an overt effort to halt the progress happening at these, and possibly many other, DISD schools. Filing a conflict of interest complaint against the DISD Board for allowing Dr. Blackburn to serve on the DISD Board, and as DISD Board Chairman, is being explored by several groups as one possible answer to such mistreatment of DISD school staff by DISD Central Offices.
How can Dr. Blackburn be involved in voting on issues regarding DISD high schools when Dallas Can Academy obviously has more potential clients if DISD high schools fail?
These conflict of interest concerns were shared with all members of the DISD Board of Directors on 4/20/13.
To add your name to those concerned about such conflicts of interest, go to https://www.change.org/petitions/eliminate-conflicts-of-interest-on-dallas-isd-board-of-directors and sign the petition.
All names will be sent to Dr. Blackburn, Mr. Adam Medrano, 1st Vice President of the Board, and Mr. Eric Cowan, 2nd Vice President of the Board and District 7 Trustee over Sunset High School.
No response was received from the DISD Board as of 1-12-15 to this complaint: