Thursday, May 26, 2016

5-26-16 "Improvement Required" Turnaround Damaged by Supplantation - Testimony

Today (at a 5:30 hearing on 5-26-16 before the DISD Board on turnaround plans) we are discussing 24 schools that have been failing and rated as "Improvement Required" for two years or longer.  They are all schools of poverty.  They are all victims of the supplantation that takes local funds from them due to high amounts of federal funds they are receiving due to student poverty, ESL status, and disabilities. This is federal money that is supposed to be supplemental but instead is supplanting, or replacing, hundreds of dollars of "regular" funding for each child.

******* Historical Note: *******

Thirteen months ago 15 Dallas residents filed a Title VI complaint with the Federal Department of Education against Dallas ISD for the supplantation of federal funds.  Supplantation is the taking of "Regular" funding (from Dallas taxes) from schools that receive large amounts of federal funds for children of poverty, and/or children who do not speak English, and/or children who suffer from handicaps. Supplantation is illegal. It could lead to incarceration for those authorizing it.  A DISD budget director resigned after the complaint was filed.  Dallas ISD Superintendent, Mike Miles, surprised everyone by resigning himself 62 days after an expanded 76 page complaint was filed 4-21-15 to replace the original complaint and within three weeks of this news report covering the facts of this complaint: .

While some adjustments have been made by DISD due to admitted "coding errors," the full corrections demanded by the 4-21-16 complaint have not been done. To our knowledge this complaint is still un-investigated by the Department of Education.

See the 4-page complaint summary followed by a link to the complete 76 pages at

******* End Historical Note: *******

Below is a copy of the most recent documentation of the continuing supplantation still happening within Dallas ISD even to these multi-year IR schools.  It focuses on 9 of the 24 schools for which this hearing is about, 9 elementary schools that have been rated as "Improvement Required" (IR), or failing, for 2 years.  It covers actual budget history and the "regular" fund allocations for the past 5 years, and the projected allocation this year for these 9 schools.  The line beneath the listing of schools gives the average allocation per student by year for these 9 schools as reported on the PEIMS Financial Report web site at

Then a list of 5 non-IR North Dallas Schools follows. Notice the significant difference in poverty levels.  The lowest poverty level is 89.3% among the IR schools while only one of the North Dallas schools had a higher poverty level. That school, Pershing, also sticks out from the other 4 north Dallas schools in receiving significantly less "Regular" funding.

Pershing Elementary has a poverty level that is actually higher than 4 of the IR schools.  Due to this, and the fact it is also under-funded like the other high poverty schools, a calculation was made without Pershing to show the difference in funding between the 4 more affluent schools and the 9 IR schools.  The more affluent schools received anywhere from an average of $270 more per child this year to an average of $486 more per child in 2012/13.

Individually, all of the four affluent North Dallas schools are receiving over $5,000 in "Regular" funding. While 3 of the 9 IR schools receive over $5,000, most, like Burleson Elementary now budgeted to receive only $3,936 this year, receive significantly less.

We are talking about additional money not given to the more poverty stricken 9 schools that have now been IR for the past 2 years.  In spite of the alleged extra assistance they are supposed to be receiving due to their IR status, they are STILL receiving an average of $270 less "regular" funds this year than the 4 North Dallas schools listed.

Imagine how great the difference would be if these 9 schools were not getting the additional attention due to being IR!  That difference was addressed in the complaint.  It even went over a $2,000 difference per child for some schools!

I was amazed today to find a funding difference is still present even with schools allegedly being assisted with additional funding to get out of IR.  It is still not enough to eliminate the supplantation! Notice the line titled "Extra money with Pershing removed." Those differences must disappear! 

(The only alternatives would be a reduction of the administrative expenses added during the Mike Miles years such as the over 400 additional administrative positions and the exceptional salaries given to many staff. Given the explosion of the DISD/Texas Student Achievement Gap back to levels not seen in 7 years, it is difficult to document improvements from this staff investment by Mr. Miles.)
Handout for 5-26-16 Testimony on Turnaround Plans for Multi-year Improvement Required Schools
Supplantation of federal funds contributes to high-poverty schools going IR.  Federal funds are to supplement a foundation that should be equal for all schools, a relatively equal amount of "Regular" funds for each child in each school.  When that equality is compromised, as is documented above even with actively IR schools, the potential for getting off IR status is damaged and the potential for falling back into IR status grows.  

How can turnaround plans be made without first ending the unequal distribution of local tax funds per student?

Allegedly a 10% variance is allowed before supplantation can be legally validated.  That variance has been broken repeatedly.

What if that variance is only used to move "Regular" funds from schools of poverty to schools of relative affluence?  The people of Dallas need to know this is happening so they can respond.

The bigger issue far beyond today's hearing is the statewide under-funding of Texas schools.  It makes the supplantation of federal funds in urban districts appear necessary for the funding of low poverty schools. Supplantation is common in Texas.  It must be identified and admitted.  It must end so the real under-funding problem in Texas is addressed.