After urging the community to not create artificial divisions, Superintendent Mike Miles discredited a “baseless and meritless” complaint that alleges the district misused Title I funds intended for schools with a high economically disadvantaged population.
Miles explained that the meritless allegation was based on an improper analysis of limited information and was filed with the hope of creating division among schools and in the community. In everyday terms, Miles said the allegation is the equivalent of someone making broad claims about a homeowner’s overall expenses while only looking at their water bill.
“The author of the complaint only looks at a single line of data that doesn’t capture the full expenditure of funds,” Miles said. “Basing claims of inequality on such an incomplete analysis points to the author’s intent.”
Miles reiterated that an independent auditor reviews the district’s Title I expenditures every year and has found the district to be in compliance. Additionally, TEA annually reviews the audits and confirms its findings. Miles said the district welcomes any additional trained auditor to review the full data of how the district spends its money as there is nothing to hide.
Miles said he was compelled to directly address the allegation because the claim—the district is spending less on the students who need it the most—is fundamentally untrue.
“This administration, this district, this board has spent a lot of time and energy precisely doing the opposite (of what the allegations claim), in that we are spending our resources on the kids who need it most,” he said. “We fight battles for that. We know we have a lot of needs in this district and we know we need more resources than we have. But we have to prioritize, so we are trying to fund the neediest schools more than the others.”
Specifically, Miles broke down several district initiatives that provide additional resources to struggling schools. These initiatives include:
- The district meets with the schools identified by the state as Improvement Required (IR) each year to identify what additional resources are needed at the schools. This year, the district provided an additional $2 million in funding to the IR schools.
- Imagine 2020 provides additional funding to support the Madison, Lincoln and Pinkston High School feeder patterns. The district provided an additional $8.4 million to the struggling schools the inaugural year, and provided even more funding this school year after adding schools in the South Oak Cliff feeder pattern as an Imagine 2020 feeder pattern.
- The district has proposed a $3 million investment in its Accelerating Campus Excellence plan which would incentivize effective teachers to teach at IR schools.
As someone who grew up in a struggling school with a mom who didn’t speak English and a dad overseas, Miles said he and the district are dedicated to the improvement of struggling schools.
“I know that education is the difference, especially if you come from poverty, especially if you don’t have the engagement from the parents, especially if you don’t have the resources,” he said. “I get that and so does the district. That’s why we have to spend more resources on kids who need it. And the actions from the district show that we are doing that.”