Education A National Roundup

U.S. Justice Department Allows Annexation of Texas District

By Catherine Gewertz — December 30, 2005 1 min read

The U.S. Department of Justice has cleared the way for the Wilmer-Hutchins school district in Texas to be annexed to the Dallas Independent School District.

In a Dec. 6 letter to the state commissioner of education, the Justice Department approved the dissolution of the Wilmer-Hutchins district. The department must approve district changes that might affect citizens’ voting rights.

Wilmer-Hutchins’ 2,700 students are attending Dallas schools this year under a contract with the 161,000-student district, said Debbie Ratcliffe, the spokeswoman for the Texas Education Agency.

Based on that experience, she said, the agency believes that the annexation, which takes effect July 1, “will go smoothly.”

The move to merge the two districts follows several years of financial and academic trouble for Wilmer-Hutchins, including revelations of widespread cheating on state tests. It was the only district in Texas to be rated academically unacceptable two years in a row.