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Happy New Year! It’s exciting to start 2020 with great projects in progress and working together for kids.

I’d like to thank the District 1 community for feedback and recommendations to date as we start to plan for the reconstruction of our schools that were impacted by tornadoes a few months ago. To those of you who have allowed me to share Dallas ISD administrators’ proposals, thank you for your time and continued support. This is the beginning of the process, and I look forward to continuing community input once architects are hired. 

When we had to relocate students in October, we went through that sprint together, and we will continue to work together through the marathon of rebuilding schools in our community to bring students back home, back to their neighborhood!

Dallas ISD administrators have brought to the table two options. My fellow trustees and I will need to vote for one of the two options this month, in order to move forward with the rebuilding of our schools and open them in August 2022. There is definitely a sense of urgency for this vote to happen, because the sooner the schools are open, the sooner our students return to their communities. But we also want to make sure all the various voices are heard, including the students, families and faculty, the neighborhood, and Dallas taxpayers.

Under both options, Edward H. Cary Middle School, which suffered the most damage and was a total loss, will have to be rebuilt and will become a new Pre-K to 8th grade campus. The two options center around completely rebuilding Thomas Jefferson High School or only renovating it. 

Rebuilding will cost a bit under $200 million, while renovating a little more than $130 million. Funding would come from a combination of district funds, insurance money and bond money.

I have been sharing your feedback with my fellow board trustees and district administrators on both options.  Once an option is selected, as members of the District 1 community, you will play a vital role in the designs of the buildings, as our architects work with the community to design a school that will stand the test of time and serve students for decades to come. Many community meetings will take place during the course of the project, and I look forward to hearing from everyone. 

Our goal is for the new schools to provide students an innovative educational environment. I am excited for the opportunity to offer District 1 students a Career Institute somewhere in North Dallas. This program will provide high school students the opportunities to achieve a technical career, preparing them for high-wage, high-demand occupations such as aviation flight, construction and carpentry, plumbing, electrical and solar technology, heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration, architectural/interior design and much more. 

The year 2020 is bringing many opportunities for the community in District 1, and I look forward to continuing this marathon together until we reach the finish line successfully to bring our District 1 students back home!

Meanwhile, one of our own started the year on a very positive note. Dominic Patermo, a fourth-grader from Harry C. Withers Elementary School, was one of eight outstanding young public speakers from Dallas ISD to advance to the finals of the 24th Annual Foley Gardere MLK Jr. Oratory Competition. Congratulations to Dominic for his great speech and delivery! 

In other topics, there is still time to apply to a Dallas ISD specialty school. If you are interested in having your child attend one of the 100 Dallas ISD choice schools and programs, but have not completed the application, I invite you to attend the Last Chance Application Event. The event will take place Saturday, Jan. 25, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Kathlyn Joy Gilliam Collegiate Academy, 1700 E. Camp Wisdom Rd. Learn more at www.dallasisd.org/yourchoices. Families will be able to visit with school representatives to learn more about specialty programs and will also be able to apply on-site for the school that best fits the needs of their child.

Stay up-to-date with district news by following us on social media @Dallasisd and @dallasisdEspanol.

Trustee Edwin Flores, District 1

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