The Dallas Independent School District is planning to pursue bond funding to pay for three new downtown campuses, a longtime wish for neighborhood boosters.
As it stands, the only public schools downtown are hyper-focused on subject matter: Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and CityLab High School, which trains students on urban planning, architecture, and community development.
In 2017, Downtown Dallas Inc. submitted a proposal through the district to put a Montessori school for kids in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade in downtown. As The Dallas Morning News reported at the time, the decision came after six years of research found, among other things, that families were fleeing the core after their children hit elementary age.
DDI recognized that there probably weren’t enough families downtown to fill an entire school, but the group zoomed in on the almost 140,000 people who worked among its high-rises. DDI floated the idea of including those workers’ children as potential students, something unseen in Dallas ISD. The initial pitch called for a lottery system with preference weighted toward downtown’s residents and workforce. But Dallas ISD was wary about enrollment—CityLab hadn’t yet hit its numbers, and Ben Milam and Sam Houston in Oak Lawn had been losing students.
In two years, those concerns have apparently waned. Workforce development became a buzzword during the last mayoral race, the wound still fresh after Amazon chose a better-educated tech workforce along the East Coast as the location for its second headquarters. Dallas ISD has entered into partnerships with big corporations downtown like AT&T, getting students in the door earlier than ever. Partnerships with the community college and with UNT Dallas have matured in recent years, creating more of a local education pipeline that’s ever existed here.Read More