Bond program to add space for more preK classes

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A variety of studies on the topic conclude that students that enter kindergarten able to read and learn on grade level are more equipped for success and less likely to fall behind their peers.

The district’s proposed $1.6 billion bond program, to be considered by voters on Nov. 3, includes plans for additional prekindergarten classroom space. At this time, such plans include four new campuses that will include additional prekindergarten classroom areas along with more preK classrooms at a minimum of three other campuses.

More specifically, those proposed spaces would be built in neighborhoods where the need is greatest among 3- and 4-year olds. Those areas are typically in areas outside the core of the district, such as far North Dallas, far West Dallas and South Dallas.

“Population shifts are happening at a fast rate across Dallas ISD,” said Alan Cohen, Dallas ISD executive director for early childhood early education. “As we continue to build out our infrastructure for preK, it is important to focus on areas where we believe we won’t have enough classroom space for all the eligible 4-year-olds living in that neighborhood if we do not begin building soon.”

Although all bond projects are estimates that remain subject to district discretion, under current plans, three new campuses would be constructed: a campus combining students from Stone and Hotchkiss elementary schools, a new preK–8 school in far North Dallas, and a replacement facility for J.J. Rhoads Elementary; and a new preK-8 school in West Dallas. The number of classrooms will not be determined until the facilities are designed and planned, but each is intended to include classroom space to serve 3- and 4-year-olds.

The district also currently plans to add preK classroom space among 18 new planned classrooms at Victor H. Hexter Elementary School, among 12 new classrooms at Highland Meadows Elementary, and among four new classrooms at Barbara Jordan Elementary.

Dallas ISD is experiencing substantial growth in its preK registrations.

In August 2013, approximately 3,300 children had been registered. One year later, in August 2014, the number of registrations had doubled to approximately 7,500 children. In August 2015, more than 9,400 children had registered.

To begin to address the need for more preK space, Dallas ISD opened two new preK sites this fall: one in Wilmer-Hutchins and a second at the former N.W. Harllee school site. Each serves more than 100 students to date, with plans to add additional space next school year and beyond.

To learn more about the proposed Dallas ISD bond program, click here.

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