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Dallas ISD Develops New Plans For District Amid Tornado Damage

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) — The Dallas School District must determine how, if and when to rebuild three heavily damaged schools.

The schools were in the path of the Oct. 20 tornado that left widespread damage in parts of Northwest and Northeast Dallas, as well as Richardson and Garland.

Jefferson High, Cary Middle and Walnut Hill Elementary Schools have been closed, and close to 3,000 students have been relocated because of the damage.

Dallas ISD officials discussed a series of rebuild plans for Jefferson Wednesday, but not Cary or Walnut Hill.

"We are committed to rebuilding Jefferson High School. There will be a version of the elementary school somewhere. It may be part of a K-12 campus we are starting to consider. The middle school students- it's a different situation," Dallas ISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa said.

The Thomas Jefferson master plan included a series of possible options that propose the construction of an "all-in-one campus."

The district could add elementary and middle school wings to a sprawling new Jefferson campus. Supporters liken the concept to private schools near the Dallas high school.

"[Jefferson] is surrounded by private schools like St. Mark's and Episcopal School of Dallas. The idea here is we can improve outcomes, but attract families into the new Jefferson," school board trustee Dustin Marshall said.

Other plans include a 6-12 campus with no elementary school.

Hinojosa pointed out that Walnut Hill has low attendance from families within its neighborhood boundaries.

"90% of the students don't live in the attendance zone. They came from other places," he said. "So, we can capitalize on that school of choice concept with the legacy of success at Walnut Hill."

School board members will ultimately decide which rebuilding plan will move forward, but school district officials say they won't produce a new school or schools for at least two years.

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