Sunday, December 05, 2010

Farmers Branch to discuss possibly forming its own school district

A clear us/them division going on.  The assumption that those who comprise the "our" in the statement "our long-term success and our quality of life" is itself not a political force needs to be recognized.  That's fine to have an opinion on what LULAC is doing but another to position their approach to serving the youth of R.L. Turner as "divisive and far left-leaning." 

I'll stop there.


By DIANNE SOLÍS / The Dallas Morning News  
Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Farmers Branch City Council intends to explore options on whether the city can form its own school district in the wake of criticism surrounding a LULAC mentoring program.
Mayor Tim O'Hare told WFAA-TV (Channel 8) on Friday that the intent is to explore whether the city can "remove itself from both the Carrollton-Farmers Branch and Dallas Independent School Districts and to form our own school district."

An executive session item on Tuesday's council meeting agenda lists discussion of potential litigation against public school districts within the boundaries of the city of Farmers Branch.
No one was available at City Hall to comment late Friday afternoon. But in O'Hare's statement to Channel 8, the mayor said that the council would meet with a lawyer who specializes in school district matters.

"We may also receive legal advice regarding legal and legislative options available to the city to address the concerns of residents, past and present, about the effect the current public school districts serving Farmers Branch have on our long-term success and our quality of life," he said
O'Hare has criticized the Carrollton-Farmers Branch school district for allowing a chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens to mentor students at Carrollton's R.L. Turner High School, which is also attended by students in Farmers Branch.

LULAC activists were a fixture in protests in this suburb over a renters ordinance that sought to bar illegal immigrants from rental housing. The ordinance was ruled unconstitutional by a Dallas federal judge, but the city is appealing the ruling.

The mentoring program was started last September by LULAC Council 4782 to combat the dropout rate in public schools and to encourage students to advance their higher education. O'Hare and council member Michelle Holmes have questioned the involvement of LULAC, saying no political organization should be invited in the public school system to mentor schoolchildren. 

O'Hare called LULAC "divisive and far left-leaning in their political view."
Victoria Neave, an attorney who runs the LULAC mentoring program, said the chapter would continue its work at R.L. Turner. It received a two-year, $20,000 grant for dropout prevention work from Ford Motor Co.

"We will continue to do what we are doing. Our program is successful. What is discussed in the media is going to continue to push our students to do better, and we'll proceed with our grant for the next two years," Neave said.

The Carrollton-Farmers Branch school board discussed the mentoring program and its value Thursday night but took no action. LULAC Council 4782 is a 5-year-old chapter headed by Gloria Levario, a health care consultant. 

The city has spent nearly $4 million defending itself from litigation in the last four years.

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