A group of citizens announced a new coalition Monday, aimed at holding Tyler ISD officials accountable for academic and discipline standards.
The new "No More Excuses, Tyler ISD! Coalition" says they have been meeting for months, and on Monday they delivered a letter to the superintendent and school board asking for a meeting to discuss their concerns.
"I will not sleep, I will not be able to rest until every child in TISD has a fair shot," said TISD parent and coalition member Cedrick Granberry.
"Our goal in coming together is to make sure that we are voices for children all across the district who find themselves trapped in schools that are under-performing or schools that are mediocre or schools that have severe discipline problems," said coalition member Jo Ann Fleming, the Executive Director of Grassroots America We the People.
The coalition sent a letter to TISD-Interim Superintendent Gary Mooring Monday asking for a public town-hall meeting or workshop in the near future to address their concerns - primarily that taxpayers are being asked to support bond measures for new schools when academic performance is low.
According to the Texas Comptroller's Financial Allocation Study for Texas, which rates districts based on academic performance and spending per student, Tyler schools rate between 1 and 3.5 out of 5 stars and are in the 50th percentile of Texas schools in academic performance.
"They're sending up red flags: Tyler ISD, you've got a problem," Fleming said. "And we're saying today that we have a moral obligation to care about those students that are trapped in those schools and it is our responsibility to not hand the district a blank check and let them go off and build more schools while these kids in brand-new schools are still in a failing situation."
It's not that they don't want new schools, members say - it's that they want the kids to succeed.
"If other schools can perform at a five-star level, I want my school district to perform at that level as well, and I want to do whatever it takes to get to that point," said Granberry.
Tyler ISD officials did meet with us to say that they are open to the coalition's concerns. They said they will pass along the letter to the board for its consideration and look forward to working together toward bettering academic performance.
The Tyler ISD school board decided in August not to put a bond issue on the November 6th ballot. They will decide early next year whether to include one on the May 2013 ballot.