Poll | DISD, Cleanliness, Vagrancy Drag City Down

Cars driving in and out of Dallas | Image by kan_khampanya/Shutterstock

A new poll commissioned by The Dallas Express suggests that Dallas residents blame the city’s recent population decrease on the school system, the amount of homelessness and vagrancy, and a general lack of cleanliness.

Despite the fact that more Americans are moving to Texas than any other state, the most recent numbers from the Census Bureau show that from 2020 to 2021, Dallas lost nearly 16,000 residents.

Out of the poll respondents who were Dallas County residents, 30% suggested that Dallas Independent School District’s (DISD) “terrible reputation” drove people away from the city. However, 29% pointed to “excessive homelessness and crime,” while another 29% claimed it was due to a “lack of cleanliness.”

Other responses included excessive crime, oppressive business taxes and regulations, and high property taxes.

These polling results come as DISD continues to struggle to deliver quality education to its students. In the 2021-2022 school year, only 41% of the district’s students performed at grade level, falling short of the state average of 48%.

Furthermore, only 81% of DISD’s graduating Class of 2022 graduated on time, once again below the 90% statewide average. The Texas Education Agency gave DISD a “C” rating in student achievement that year.

Dallas has also been wrestling with homelessness and vagrancy in recent years. In response to the issue, Mayor Eric Johnson formed a new task force to study the issue and provide solutions to vagrancy.

“[City residents] see growing numbers of encampments in their neighborhoods. They see people passed out on the sidewalks. They see people walking naked on the streets,” Johnson said in a press conference attended by The Dallas Express. “They see trash. They see waste. They see tents pitched on our freeway underpasses.”

The mayor concluded, “They want and they expect to live in a city that does not tolerate, and certainly does not facilitate, disorder.”

Compounding these issues is the matter of city cleanliness. Recently, Dallas was ranked the 32nd dirtiest of the 200 largest cities in the United States, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.

Jay Council, then-director of sanitation for the City, responded to the report at the time by telling The Dallas Express, “The City of Dallas is dedicated to providing a clean and healthy environment for its residents. … The Department of Sanitation Services continues its mission to operate a clean, green, and efficient integrated solid waste management system.”

Council soon resigned from his position after his department failed to pick up waste from some neighborhoods for as much as a month at a time between December and January. During the breakdown of city trash collection, Council Member Chad West (District 1) paid a private company to gather his constituents’ garbage.

The City of Dallas has announced that it will not be compensating those residents affected for the missed days, asserting that the city code does not authorize such payments.

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  1. Betsy Whitfill

    It appears that governments, from DC to the cities, are finally experiencing the results of decades of eating their seed corn: middle class city taxpayers. Abusing homeowners with annual tax increases, declining police protection, failing public schools that still require tax money from middle class families who must also pay for private schooling, and other stresses, is producing predictable results. Its too bad that the affable Dallas Mayor, Eric Johnson, is running unopposed in May. His failure to oversee the City Manager’s department doesn’t bode well for our cities’ vibrancy in the future.

  2. Michelle Stallings

    The writer keeps reporting about the same things over and over again, but doesn’t seem to want to add that the city’s living costs are too high for the average wage earning citizen.
    I want to see the poles.

  3. Rodney Brown

    There are several school districts within the city of Dallas including the following ISDs: Carrollton-Farmers Branch, Coppell, Dallas, Duncanville, Irving, Garland, Mesquite, Plano, Richardson, and Rockwall. Not to mention dozens of charter schools.

    • R H

      Most of Dallas proper is in Dallas ISD they are not referring to the suburbs of Dallas that may or may not cross into a very small portion of the city of Dallas

  4. B Marks

    Please publish the details of the poll. Sample size, methodology, and polling agency.


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