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Dallas Eases Residency Requirement for Top Officials

The superintendent of the Dallas Independent School District and officials that report directly to that person will have to reside within the district's boundaries, but other top officials will be allowed to live elsewhere after an 8-1 vote taken by the district's school board Thursday.
The Dallas Morning News reports that the president of the board, Lew Blackburn, called the vote a "compromise;" some board members were in favor of dropping the residency requirement for all Dallas officials except the superintendent. But others board members have supported the policy, saying that a residency policy for all fostered a greater connection to the community.

The residency policy came under new attention in the wake of a January report by school officials and city business leaders that examined the district's human resources practices and found them wanting. The report concluded that current practices do not support the need to attract top leaders to the district. From the report:

Results show principals and and senior leadership are overburdened with making candidate selections as there is little or no criteria or accountability for talent selection. The administrative process for screening candidates is ineffective, time-consuming and lacking in systems that would help streamline getting world-class talent on board.

Among the recommendations of the panel was dropping the residency requirement for all officials except for the superintendent. Other recommendations include creating a standardized process for hiring teachers, cutting the number of steps currently in place to hire candidates, and eliminating "excess/surplus" positions.

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