NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Some Dallas Schools Might Go Private

September 29, 1999

The Dallas Independent School District is considering bringing in a private company to run up to ten of its schools next school year. The district's superintendent, Bill Rojas, used the Edison Project to run an elementary school when he was superintendent of the San Francisco school district. He says he wants the company to run a cross-section of schools in Dallas, including low- performing schools.

  • The Edison Project runs schools for the same amount of state money districts would spend on them, and invests substantial amounts of its own money on technology and programs.
  • Edison currently runs 51 schools nationwide in 12 states, including Texas.
  • Edison controls the curriculum, technology and management of the schools, and the schools operate for seven to eight hours a day instead of the usual six, and 200 to 205 days a year instead of the usual 180.
  • The company can lose its contract with the district if it fails to meet its academic goals.

Edison's goal is to make money by running schools more efficiently than public systems do, although in eight years they have not made a profit. Still, one Dallas school trustee summed up the proposed experiment this way: "There's no risk to the district. They either produce or they're out of here. We can't do that with other programs."

Source: Linda K. Wertheimer and Mike Jackson, "Private Firm May Run Up To 10 DISD Schools," Dallas Morning News, September 29, 1999.


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