Updated: Jan 25, 2021
Uplift Charter School has applied for a Special Use Permit (SUP) to build a new campus at I-30 and Buckner (9743 E RL Thornton Dallas Tx) that will replace two Uplift schools in downtown Dallas.
Opening a new Uplift campus will likely result in significant enrollment decreases to our neighborhood East Dallas DISD schools close to the new Uplift site and may cost these schools academic and program cuts as the enrollment falls. In addition, Uplift has made this decision without input from parents or community members from these neighborhood schools.
Summary: Critical concerns about Uplift Charter Schools in Dallas ISD:
1. There is no elected school board to oversee taxpayer funding - this means no elected trustee to oversee your tax dollars and no ability to vote out the trustee if you do not agree with how they are managing the school.
2. The money transferred from Dallas ISD taxpayers to Uplift is financially devastating and unsustainable. Since 2011/12, Uplift Education has reduced Dallas ISD’s revenues by over $450 million, without the approval of any DISD taxpayer. Uplift Luna alone drains just under $12 million in revenue annually from DISD.
• Since Uplift relies on under-enrolling students with demographics representative of the community the result is a significant fiscal impact on DISD of draining resources, leaving the most costly students to teach while simultaneously necessitating cuts in academics, programs, and staff in DISD.
3. The new Uplift campus will pull students from DISD and disrupt education for students. Uplift states this new build is a relocation of its Downtown Luna (pre-K - 5) and Deep Ellum Luna (gr 6-12) campuses, indicating the Luna students will travel 9.6 miles in rush-hour traffic to the new location. If the Luna students do not, the DISD campuses in the area will suffer significant destabilization as Uplift draws from these schools.
Opening, closing, and relocating campuses by charter schools at their whim is directly opposed to the central tenet of stability in education, especially for the disadvantaged.
4. The Uplift student outcomes are not better than Dallas ISD and when comparing “apples to apples” are often worse. This proposed new charter campus is located in close proximity to academically acceptable Dallas ISD schools, with a plethora of educational offerings from early elementary through high school. There are nine DISD schools within 8 minutes of the new Uplift campus, all rated B or C except one. There is no need for this campus.
5. Uplift practices discriminatory admissions and enrollment policies resulting in segregated communities and the exclusion of certain student populations. Uplift does not serve students at levels representative of students in the Dallas ISD area. Instead Uplift markets to and enrolls students deemed most likely to succeed thereby undermining the neighborhood DISD campuses.
Charter schools do not serve all students. State law allows charters to exclude any student from enrollment who has any discipline history – even for minor offenses, such as being sent to the principal’s office*.
6. Uplift practices yield concerns about educational inequity for students, such as larger class sizes, less teacher pay, higher teacher turnover, and spending more on administration and less in the classroom.
* Texas Education Code 12.111 (a)(5)(A) available at https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/ED/htm/ED.12.htm