Dallas ISD To Make Decision On Schools With Tornado Damage

Alan Scaia
January 23, 2020 - 7:20 am

Austin York/KRLD

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DALLAS (1080 KRLD) - The Dallas ISD school board is scheduled to vote Thursday evening on how to handle the reconstruction of schools that were damaged in the tornadoes October 20.

The tornadoes destroyed Cary Middle School and damaged Walnut Hill Elementary and Thomas Jefferson High School.

Related: Dallas ISD Looks At Options To Rebuild From October Tornadoes

Cary will need to be rebuilt, but the school board could choose between repairing TJ High School and Walnut Hill Elementary or tearing them down and rebuilding them.

Superintendent Michael Hinojosa says rebuilding the schools entirely would cost about $200 million but making repairs would cost $130 million. At a meeting January 9, he said he recommended repairs.

"The only reason I'm recommending it at this time is that it's less money," he said.

Hinojosa said the school board would need to choose one of the plans at Thursday's meeting in order to start construction and get the schools reopened for the 2022-2023 school year.

"There is a sense of urgency on many matters, and this is the one that is the most profound," he said. "If there is slippage in the timeline, we lose a year."

Whichever option the school board chooses, Hinojosa says construction could be paid for with existing funds, insurance payouts and a potential bond expected to be put before voters this year.

Right now, students from TJ High School must travel about ten miles to Edison Middle School, which closed in 2018.

Students at Walnut Hill Elementary were moved to the vacant Tom Field Elementary School after the tornado. Dallas ISD plans to transform Walnut Hill to a vocational school.