Adam and Lacey McGough with their three children

Adam and Lacey McGough with their three children

Some Lake Highlands voters have been asking why District 10 candidate Adam McGough’s children were enrolled in a Highland Park school up until a few months ago. He spoke with us about that, to some extent, but if you want the full story, he says, he will sit down and have a glass of sweet tea with you, and he’ll tell you all about it.

Two Lake Highlands residents officially aim to represent Lake Highlands, District 10, when Jerry Allen exits his post later this year.

Paul Reyes announced his candidacy first. Last Friday, Adam McGough, Mayor Mike Rawlings’ Chief of Staff at the moment, announced that he will run. (The mayor’s office sent a press release stating that McGough will be replaced soon.)

After we wrote about that, questions about McCough’s residency popped up in the comments section.

“Doesn’t this guy’s kids go to school in Highland Park,” queries one anonymous commenter.

“Is there something wrong with the Lake Highlands schools?” commenter Michelle Daniels posts.

One commenter posted a specific Highland Park address for McGough, from Highland Park ISD’s Bradfield Elementary’s school directory (we edited out the street number). Others asked why they could find no address publicly listed for McGough in Lake Highlands or otherwise.

Here’s what McGough has to say about it all.

He lived in Highland Park, near SMU, when he first moved to Dallas, so he is familiar with and liked the area, he says, offering background on his relationship with the Park Cities.

In the mid 2000s, he and his wife, Lacy, bought and moved into a home in Lake Highlands that feeds into the Northlake Elementary attendance public school zone.

His address is unlisted because he was a community prosecutor who frequently busted-up drug houses and made the lives of criminals difficult, he says, so having an unlisted address is a matter of security. He is legally and ethically supported in keeping any home addresses unlisted.

When the eldest of the three McGough children approached school age, Adam and Lacey had many things to consider and myriad options to weigh, Adam says.

Theirs was a nuanced situation that cannot be described in a sound byte or a few quotes, he says.

He says he is willing to sit down with anyone who has questions and “take them through the minute-by-minute and day-by-day decisions” that went into his and Lacy’s choices. In a nutshell, those choices included:

In 2010, approximately, they bought a home in Highland Park and Lacy moved there and established residency. She enrolled the children in HPISD and they attended Bradfield Elementary until year end, 2014. Meanwhile, Adam lived in Lake Highlands/ has lived in Lake Highlands since the purchase of the Lake Highlands home.

The living-apart situation was not due to marital troubles, and it was not easy, McGough says when asked, but rather it was due to those complexities, which, he repeats, he’d be happy to discuss in detail with any constituent, in person.

Today the whole McGough family is living together in Lake Highlands, in the Highlands Estates neighborhood, and the two school-age children are attending Scofield, a private school in Lake Highlands.

There are many complexities that go into deciding on a school for your children, he reiterates.

Part of his decision to enroll the children in Scofield and reunite the family under one Lake Highlands roof was indeed due to his wish to run for the District 10 city council seat. He says having the support of his family, the whole family’s total emersion in Lake Highlands, was essential to his campaign. He says that the changes were made at a time when he felt they would, most importantly, benefit his children as well as (secondarily, he says) his political efforts.

Will he consider eventually sending his children to our public schools? It is a semester-by-semester decision, he says, but, ultimately, yes.

He stresses that he will make good on this offer to meet with anyone who has questions. (Email me at chughes@advocatemag.com or text me at 972.697.8699, and I will put you in touch with him.) He says he will meet you at Neighbors, which is close to home and serves great sweet tea.

Of note, the vast majority of Lake Highlands homeowners who live in the Northlake attendance zone do not send their children to Northlake. Most of them request transfers or opt for private school. This situation was addressed last year when a group of parents from the neighborhood founded Let’s Back Northlake, in an effort to support the neighborhood public school and ultimately change those stats. Northlake is an academically remarkable school. Its students mostly live in the surrounding apartment communities, not the single-family homes.

See:

Northlake: Why all the transfers?

Reaction: Northlake transfers

McGough adds that he and his wife are anxious to work with groups such as Let’s Back Northlake.

He says that he understands and as a council representative would take advantage of opportunities to continue the improvement of both the apartment properties surrounding Northlake and programs that can directly assist the area’s students and their education.

McGough’s opponent, Paul Reyes, lives in the L Streets and his children attend St. Patrick’s, a private school.

The election is next May and we will invite both candidates in for a Q&A session in mid February, so keep posting your questions. We will rely heavily on those during our forum.