By Joshua Benton
And the winner is … South Oak Cliff High.
That’s where Wilmer-Hutchins’ senior class will attend school starting next month. Wilmer-Hutchins’ financial problems led the district to seek a new home for its 2,700 students, and the Dallas school district agreed Monday to take them in.
Dallas trustee Ron Price had wanted the seniors shipped to Madison High, which would have created a football team that could compete for a state title. But students preferred South Oak Cliff, which is closer to their homes.
“That’s where we’ve been wanting to go ever since school shut down,” said senior-to-be Frankie Solomon. “It’s worked out fine.”
Other refugees from Wilmer-Hutchins High will attend Carter, Roosevelt and A. Maceo Smith. In all, the district’s students will be split among 25 Dallas school district campuses.
Dallas Independent School District employees did a phone survey this week of Wilmer-Hutchins students to determine their preferences. Nearly all the seniors surveyed said they would rather be sent to one school than be split along geographic lines.
“As a result of this input, we feel obliged and duty-bound to honor their request,” DISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa said.
In many cases, even the infusion of new students will still leave the Dallas hallways thinly populated. Clara Oliver Elementary, for instance, will still only be at 38 percent of its student capacity. Roosevelt High, even after taking 257 Wilmer-Hutchins students, will be at only 57 percent of capacity.
The low enrollment at southern Dallas campuses was one reason DISD leaders insisted on moving Wilmer-Hutchins students into those schools. Most Wilmer-Hutchins parents preferred having DISD educate the students on Wilmer-Hutchins campuses.
With the moves, some Wilmer-Hutchins students will attend schools more than 18 miles from their homes. Bus service will be provided for students who need it.