Richardson ISD has responded to David Tyson Jr.’s lawsuit alleging that discriminatory practices have led to wide achievement gaps between white and minority students, who often attend segregated schools within the district and experience disparate results. If you thought current trustees were planning to sit down and settle the matter with their former school board colleague– think again.
“Defendants deny that the District’s Board of Trustees consistently prioritizes some schools at the expense of other schools,” says the suit, addressing Tyson’s complaints that largely white schools in RISD outperform majority-minority ones. In fact, the suit makes 76 such denials.
Tyson is petitioning the court for single member districts, not a financial judgement, as a remedy, and his attorney, William Brewer, has won in court against multiple area defendants including Irving ISD and the cities of Irving and Farmers Branch. Other districts, such as Grand Prairie and Carrollton-Farmers Branch, have opted to avoid lengthy, expensive court fights by changing their method of electing trustees out of court. As Brewer Storefront, the community services arm of Brewer Attorneys & Counselors, moves from district to district, tackling what it sees as racist systems, RISD is not the first district to hire lawyers to fight. If successful, it would, however, be the first to win.
RISD’s plan, though, isn’t just a court battle. The district is launching ACE, a new “campus reconstitution” program designed to take the district’s poorest performers and begin again from the ground up. The $3.2 million ACE (Accelerating Campus Education) program, modeled after a DISD program, will recruit new teachers and principals for Forest Lane Academy, Thurgood Marshall Elementary, Carolyn Bukhair Elementary and RISD Academy, and find jobs for many of their existing staff elsewhere within the district. Two of the four — Forest Lane and Thurgood Marshall — are in Lake Highlands.
“This is new,” says Superintendent Dr. Jeannie Stone. “We’ve never done anything like this before.”
As high-performing teachers within the district move to these schools, they will earn additional stipends of $10,000 (principals will get $15,000) and commit to stay at least 3 years. In addition to, ideally, lessening the student performance gap, the program hopes to address high teacher turnover in these schools. Students in the program will also enjoy an added hour for enrichment in language, math, clubs, UIL competitions and emotional support.
You can learn more about ACE here.
It’s not clear yet whether RISD’s creation of the ACE program, set to begin in the fall, will influence the judge in the case. We’ll keep you updated.