Parent advocates in Dallas are concerned about the fiscal impact of new charter schools at a time when the budget of the public schools are stretched thin.

Lori Kirkpatrick wrote here about the dangers of introducing new and unwanted charters.

Public education advocates don’t understand how it makes sense to introduce new charters when existing public schools are in fiscal trouble.

They expressed concern that all available state funds should be focused on helping existing district and charter schools meet the challenges of COVID-19, not on opening new charter schools. Public funds for education should be targeted where they are needed the most.

Trustee Joyce Foreman stated, “DISD is experiencing unbudgeted and unanticipated costs to ensure that DISD students have equal access to technology for virtual learning, and meals for continued health and wellness. This is not the time for reduced resources to our public school district that serves the vast majority of students who also have the greatest needs.”

Advocates also raised specific issues about the proposed new campuses including:

Waxahachie Faith Family Academy (FFA) – an alternative education accountability campus (AEA) with significantly lower accountability standards than most Dallas ISD schools and the district. For example, 4th graders at FFA scored significantly lower that 4th grade students at a Dallas Elementary school that is only 2.2 miles (4 minutes) from the FFA campus but has similar student demographics:

– 27% on state tests for reading (23 points lower) and 26% for math (32 points lower) than the Dallas ISD elementary school.

Uplift Education Wisdom Prep – the proposed Uplift campuses would result in an estimated revenue loss of up to $100 million to Dallas ISD over 10 years, using projected estimates of full enrollment.

Both proposed charter campuses are located in close proximity to academically acceptable Dallas ISD schools. The new FFA site at 200 W. Wheatland Road is located only 2.1 miles (5 minutes) from DISD’s academically acceptable David W. Carter High School (C rated). The expansion of Uplift Wisdom Prep at 301 W. Camp Wisdom Road is located 1.4 miles (< 5 minutes) from B rated DISD campus Umphrey Lee Elementary School, 0.4 miles (1 minute) from DISD’s Terry Elementary School (C rated), and 2.7 miles from DISD’s David W. Carter High School. Wisdom Prep is C rated and was Improvement Required the prior year under the name Pinnacle.

These new campuses are proposed through the charter amendment process which allows an existing charter to open a new campus anywhere in Texas once they meet certain TEA requirements. The approval is at the sole discretion of the TEA Commissioner of Education. There is no public notice about the amendment requests to open new campuses, and little opportunity for public input. Most parents and community members are unaware that these charters are proposed to open new campuses in their neighborhoods.

Foreman stated, “This lack of public notice and input in the charter expansion process goes against our need for more not less transparency in how decisions are made about the use of public funds. Parents spoke out against the FFA expansion in 2018 – and they are still against any such expansions.”

Lori Kirkpatrick issued the following alert for parent advocates for public schools in Dallas:



Waxahachie Faith Family Academy (FFA) has asked the Texas Education Agency (TEA) for approval to open a new charter campus in Dallas at 200 W. Wheatland Road to serve grades 9 – 12. FFA currently operates charter campuses in Dallas (Oak Cliff) and Ellis counties.

Please send an email to Mike Morath, Commissioner of Education, if you are concerned about the expansion of Faith Family Academy in Dallas. If possible, please post this information on social media to inform other parents and community members. The TEA decision had not been made as of May 5, 2020, but it is expected soon, so please act now.(

Here are critical concerns about Waxahachie Faith Family Academy:

• All available state funds should be used to help existing public schools respond to the on-going challenges of COVID-19. Districts are facing unbudgeted and unanticipated expenses needed to support students and their families. In this dire budget situation, we should focus state funds where they are needed most.

• The proposed Waxahachie FFA campus will be located in close proximity to a Dallas ISD High School rated academically acceptable. The new FFA site at 200 W. Wheatland Road is located only 2.1 miles (5-minute drive) from DISD’s David W. Carter High School which is rated academically acceptable for the last three years.

• Waxahachie FFA does not inform parents on its website that it is evaluated under alternative education accountability (AEA) provisions. Campuses and districts registered under AEA provisions meet significantly lower accountability standards than most Dallas ISD schools and the district. Yet FFA does not include this critical information on its website to fully inform parents about FFA’s accountability standards. In fact, FFA states that: “Faith Family Academy is an A-rated district by the Texas Education Agency – higher than every public school district in our service area!”

• Waxahachie Faith Family Academy does not budget to adequately meet critical needs of its students. FFA spends zero dollars on guidance and counseling services, compared to a per student expenditure of $436 by Dallas ISD for counseling. Students in grades 9 – 12 especially require counseling services to help them with class schedules, academic advising, and college access.

• Waxahachie Faith Family Academy spends less on instruction and more on administration. FFA is an alternative education accountability school with lower accountability standards than most Dallas ISD schools and serves students at risk of dropping out. Yet, it spends $563 less per student on instruction than Dallas ISD schools, and more than double per student on general administration expenses.

• Waxahachie underserves students with special needs, enrolling only 5.7 percent compared to the state average of 9.6 percent. It’s a serious concern that a charter school should be allowed to expand unless it serves close to the state average of students with special needs. In addition, Waxahachie’s 2019 Special Education Determination Status is “Needs Intervention” which raises additional concerns about the services it delivers to this student population.