August 11, 2021: Dallas City Council voted to approve the Planned Development (PD) for Uplift Charter School at I-30 and Buckner. Uplift will now need to apply for a Special Use Permit (SUP) to operate the charter school. This SUP application is expected to be heard by the City Council in September. We continue to oppose this application and encourage you to do the same by contacting your city council member.
April 14, 2021: Uplift requested an amendment to the City of Dallas Thoroughfare Plan - to delete a planned city street for the purpose of full development of a charter school on this property. Council Member Bazaldua postponed the issue until the August City Council Meeting. Update: The City Council voted on August 11, 2021 to delete the planned thoroughfare streets of Chenault and NE1. After speaking with the owners of adjacent properties, the Coalition for Equity did not oppose the deletion as the street would have been damaging to the current property owners.
March 25, 2021: The Dallas City Plan Commission (CPC) voted unanimously to deny the zoning application for Uplift Charter School at I-30 and Buckner in east Dallas due to traffic safety concerns.
Update: Uplift Charter paid the adjacent land owner of King Metals for a section of his property and will now have an ingress/egress option on Buckner, which alleviated the traffic safety concerns of only an I-30 access road entrance/exit.
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. Charter schools in Texas are private organizations but operate with taxpayer money. As a private organization they are governed by self-selected boards of directors that are not accountable to local taxpayers or voters, unlike public school districts that are governed by democratically elected boards of trustees.
2. The money reduced from Dallas ISD's budget is financially devastating and unsustainable. Since 2011/12, Uplift Education has reduced Dallas ISD’s revenues by over $450 million, without the approval of a single DISD taxpayer.
• DISD cannot eliminate fixed costs (utilities, staff, transportation). As funding declines, the operating cost per student increases, and ultimately forces cuts in instructional programming for remaining students.
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.
Important to know:
- 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. There are nine DISD schools within 8 minutes of the new Uplift campus (all rated B or C except one), and there are 14 charter schools within a 5 mile radius. In short there is no need for this campus.
5. Charter schools often under-enroll English language learners, disadvantaged, and at risk students resulting in segregated communities and the exclusion of certain student populations. Uplift markets to and enrolls students deemed most likely to succeed thereby undermining neighborhood DISD campuses.
Important to know:
- 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.
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TEA Summary of Finance
TEA TAPR 2019-20
TEA Snapshot 2018-19
TEA list of 2020 charter amendments
* Texas Education Code 12.111 (a)(5)(A) available at: https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/ED/htm/ED.12.htm