How Much Can We Blame DISD for Toyota Not Moving to Dallas?

Southlake Champions sportsBy now you’ve probably heard that Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings blamed Dallas’s loss of the big Toyota Headquarters to Plano move on low performing Dallas Public Schools, or DISD.

In an interview on KERA’s Think, Rawlings said Toyota ultimately decided to relocate to Plano because of the schools in Dallas.

“We don’t get Toyota in Dallas because of the school system. We’ve talked to them. They want to be in Plano,” Rawlings said.

Rawlings said it’s difficult to sell a company on moving to Dallas when it has so many low-performing schools that produce few graduates. He said the schools played a role in 7-Eleven deciding to move its headquarters from Dallas to Irving recently.

“They looked at a lot of things — the location, cost of real estate,” Rawlings said about Toyota. “But they want a school … The 7-Eleven CEO said, ‘I need to be where our families are sending their kids to school,’ and they are not sending them to DISD.”

Matthew Haag’s post in Tuesday’s Dallas Morning News has now generated 91 comments, with roughly half angry about his statement, the other agreeing with Mayor Mike. I am scratching my head about Irving: last time I looked, Irving schools were no better than DISD as far as performance or safety. Maybe Irving has lower taxes than Dallas?

Who really knows why people move into Dallas or on the outskirts and why? Realtors. They deal with families on a one-by-one case and know why people buy homes — for schools, atmosphere, safety, whatever.

Here’s what Realtors tell me: people buy in Plano, Allen, McKinney and Lovejoy: because of the schools and sense of community. But when it comes to a solid school community that prepares kids for college, Southlake is KILLING IT!

If you buy in Dallas, plan on sending your kid to private schools, of which we have some of the best in the nation. (Rawlings did not mention that.) Or buy in certain areas, such as Lakewood, where the lower schools are fabulous. But plan on moving for high school, or go private.

Or if you can pony up $900,000, go to the Park Cities, where I am hearing concerns of over-crowding.

I firmly believe that busing killed Dallas public schools years ago, and in fact, I’m not quite sure what it accomplished besides equalizing to mediocrity. My dream is to see a sane Dallas school board advised by volunteer educational professionals from each private school in Dallas, where they are held accountable by parents.

In my opinion, busing created it’s own segregation. Whenever the government thinks it is “shaping society”, people push back. With the social pressures of the 1950’s-1970’s, well-intentioned court-ordered busing in public schools created white flight to the suburbs and the proliferation of private schools in Dallas. It happened in Chicago, too, as the middle class fled north, west and south — Lake Michigan borders on the east. When I grew up, there were 35 miles of prairie dirt between the little town of Elgin and Chicago. Now, when I return, it’s solid development. It will be just like that soon between Dallas and McKinney.

As this happened, roads were built because what was good for General Motors was good for America. People lived in the suburbs where it was clean, green, quiet and safe, and dad drove to work. Soon, however, employers started taking jobs to the suburbs where they could pocket savings on employee parking, land and more. Also, by this time BOTH parents were often working, there were single parents, with childcare an issue for employers who wanted to retain top brainpower. So ultimately, the government’s “shaping of society” to make us all equal, left Dallas with basically a north-south divide and a depression south of the Trinity that few cared to treat until recently as re-gentrification took place.

It was jobs and vitality to the north, poor people and dysfunctional politics to the south.

So I ask you agents out there: what is driving the buyers away from buying in Dallas and within DISD and taking them to places like Plano, Frisco, Southlake and Coppell? I hear it’s schools and a a sense of safety, but I’d really like to hear it from you!


7 Comment

  • Sad to say, there are misinformed realtors who don’t take the time to do any investigation. There is no need to move for high school in Lakewood. According to City-Data figures almost 75% of high school students in 75214 are in public school. In fact Woodrow Wilson High and J. L. Long Middle School are the only International Baccalaureate schools in Dallas. Some suburban districts do not even have those. I believe there are only three public schools in North Texas offering IB Middle Years Programme and one is Long. Like the Park Cities our schools are also overcrowded because of demand. That’s with a sixth grade addition at Long and a new $14 million new science and arts wing at Woodrow. No doubt you have heard of Lakewood Elementary’s plan to raise $15 million in private for a new addition:

    We have an umbrella organization for our schools and fundraising – check out: It raised over $500,000 last year. It will be assisting once again in expanding IB to some of the elementary feeder schools.

    Besides the magnets, three comprehensive DISD high schools made the Washington Post Advanced Placement list: White, Hillcrest and Woodrow.

    • Thanks Kyle, great points. I know Lakewood continues to be in hot demand because of the great schools. I’m just sad that our mayor did not recognize our fabulous private schools, as well.

  • For us it was bad roads, crime and illegal aliens. Dallas cannot afford to change. DISD and the city are in such a deficit, it will never happen. Throw in our terrible DCVB and there is no tax base.

  • W t white’s overall scores are terrible. The most recent scores were one of the worst. As an alum it sadden me.

  • What killed these 2 deals, 7-11 & Toyota are the southern neighborhoods of Dallas, Fair park neighborhoods and the City Council always sucking up to Southern Dallas Community to get their fair share of everything. Bout of course we have to watch out P’s & Q’s & be PC!! Rawlings might as well tell people it’s not just DISD but the lousy neighborhoods in South Dallas that most of these Corporate bigwigs want no part of. Maybe certain parts of Oak Cliff & the Kessler Parks & Bishop areas but Nada West or South of that.You can talk about your so-called inner city Hi Dollar “hoods” like Lakewoods, Park Cities, Highland Parks, etc. but the mostly low paying service jobs from Toyota, won’t fly in those hi dollar neighborhoods. Now 7-11 is another thing. Hometown Co. that was founded umpteen yrs. ago by the Thompson Family, going to Irving. That’s shameful. But you will give MILLIONS of monies to go fix some delapidated Stratford Hotel. Spend millions on a Bridge to nowhere over the Trinity & now working on the rest of the so-called River City down there. But you fire teachers & close schools b/c some new sheriff in town has his Own Agenda, when his last one in Colorado didn’t work out. You don’t think Toyota did its Due Diligence on you people?? Think again!!

  • I agree that busing killed Dallas schools. I was a student in DISD set to graduate in’73 but moved away . I’m back now and reestablished old friendships with DISD schoolmates who lived through the birthing pains of forced busing and it left scars for those bused in and those bused out. It destroyed their sense of community , which is what Dallas lacks though there are pockets that seem to be emerging. It will take years to see if it continues to grow.

  • I think where ever a factory would be built, >75% of the employees would not live in that city. D/FW is a region of commuters.