Garland ISD unanimously approved the building of a coalition with the cities of Garland, Rowlett and Sachse.
The coalition is intended to create open and ongoing communication and collaboration, shared advocacy, and joint planning between Garland ISD and the cities they serve.
Garland ISD serves an estimated 55,000 students across 72 campuses – 56 in Garland, 12 in Rowlett and four in Sachse. It ranks as the second-largest district in Dallas County, fifth in Dallas-Fort Worth, 15th in Texas and among the 75 largest in America.
Robert Selders, Garland ISD’s school board president, highlighted a sentence online he said drove the effort of the coalition: "Our diverse family of three cities shares a vision that serves to provide an exceptional education to all students."
“When school boards and city councils don’t work together, students and the positive outlook we plan for, work for and hope for them can suffer,” Selders said. “School districts where the school board and city council worth together regularly can strengthen the community connection with a shared vision that is mutually beneficial.”
Board Trustee Linda Griffin highlighted the districts need for such a coalition for better communication citing the roundabout reconstruction as an example. Griffin said the roundabouts were a major installation in Garland, and it led to a nightmare on the first day of school. Since then, she said there has been a need for closer communication between cities and the district to better communicate major changes on either side.
“I think the districts who are doing very well, even through COVID, have a strong connection between cities and the school district,” Griffin said. “Many school districts and cities meet on a regular basis especially when there is construction and building going on.”
Trustee Larry Glick raised concern over the diverse visions of the three different cities when Selders introduced the coalition. His main concern was understanding how Garland ISD will convince each of the cities that the district has a shared interest with its residents if it serves multiple cities.
“A coalition like this is extremely important for our district,” Trustee Wes Johnson said. “There are lots of districts who serve multiple cities. No city is completely within our district.”
Johnson said around 40% of Sachse, 25% of Rowlett and around 15% of Garland are covered by another district.
“When you deal with these municipal leaders, sometimes, they ask why they should worry about us because they have other districts to deal with too,” he said. “If the focus is we’re part of a coalition, then the kids are always at the forefront. It’s easy for these guys to say they can’t deal with three school districts, but if you get into a partnership with them, it’s no longer an option for them. Now they’re engaged.”
Upon the resolution’s passing, members of the Garland ISD Board of Trustees plan to further discuss their coalition with their cities.