Published Online: September 13, 2005
Published in Print: September 14, 2005, as Texas Moves to Dissolve Wilmer-Hutchins District

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Texas Moves to Dissolve Wilmer-Hutchins District

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The Wilmer-Hutchins, Texas, school district will be annexed to the Dallas district next year, the state commissioner of education announced last week.

Shirley J. Neeley said in a statement that she was taking action under a state law that allows the commissioner to close a district that has been deemed academically unacceptable for two years. Wilmer-Hutchins, which this school year is contracting with Dallas to educate its 2,700 students because of severe academic and financial problems, is the only district in Texas to have received such a rating for two years in a row.

The move must be cleared by the U.S. Department of Justice.

In May, the state appointed a board of managers to try to turn around the troubled district, but Ms. Neeley said its problems were not solvable. Residents have repeatedly turned down efforts to raise taxes or pass bonds to repair the district’s crumbling schools. The district also owes $3 million to the state, which was advanced over the summer to pay people for work they had already done. This year’s tax receipts are pledged to pay off a multimillion-dollar debt to Wells Fargo Bank, the statement said.

“These students have spent their school years in a district racked by scandal and mismanagement,” Ms. Neeley said. “I cannot in good conscience allow any child to be educated in this inadequate system.”

Vol. 25, Issue 03, Pages 4-5

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