Despite the current economic crisis, Dallas ISD is poised to ask for voters to approve a $3.7 billion bond. While the timing is rather alarming, there are more concerns than meets the eye.
While DISD is considering building at least 10 new schools and 14 replacement schools, its enrollment numbers have seen a steady, long-term decline. In fact, the district’s student enrollment has dropped 1.3% over a 10-year period from 2009-2018. This persistent drop raises some obvious questions about why a slew of additional schools are needed when the district is teaching fewer students, and some campuses are having difficulty reaching 50% capacity.
But while enrollment is going down, school district spending continues to go in the opposite direction. During roughly the same period from 2010-2019, Dallas ISD’s general fund expenditures increased by 22.9% and its general fund expenditures spent per student increased 24.5%. There seems to be something of a disconnect between spending and enrollment.
Dallas ISD’s enrollment decline is finished yet either. The district’s proposed budget predicts a loss of nearly 1,500 more students in the upcoming school year. With so many students leaving the district, now would be an opportune time to spend less, not more.