Park Cities residents have reported receiving mailers from the HP Families political action committee (PAC).
In advertisements, PAC supporters describe themselves as “a group of parents and community members speaking up for academic excellence in HPISD.” However, some Park Cities residents still have questions about who’s involved with the PAC and what its supporters’ goals are.
One reader, a recipient of a mailer, reached out to People Newspapers, where the PAC advertised in the December issue of Park Cities People, with questions. Here’s what we know about the PAC so far:
- The PAC was started in July of 2021 and listed Nathan Petty as its treasurer, according to records filed with the Texas Ethics Commission. People Newspapers has been unable to reach Petty for comment.
- The PAC’s website was created Nov. 2, 2021, using the Arizona-based Internet domain registrar and web-hosting company GoDaddy, an ICANN search revealed. Also, Domains By Proxy was used to mask information about who registered it.
- The website also features a ‘tipline’ for respondents to help the group “shine a light on deficiencies within HPISD’s curriculum, management, or other areas that need attention.”
- HP Families on their website and in the mailers particularly decried Dallas ISD schools like the School for the Talented and Gifted in Pleasant Grove ranking higher than HPISD schools in the U.S. News and World Report rankings of public elementary and middle schools. Last year was the magazine’s first time to publish elementary and middle schools rankings, with scoring based primarily on students’ performance on mathematics and reading/language arts state assessments. The U.S. Department of Education-sourced data was from the 2018-2019 academic year and preceded the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact.
- Highland Park ISD responded to some of the claims made in HP Families PAC mailers, online, and during public comments at HPISD board of trustees meetings about the U.S. News and World Report rankings. “For each state, schools were assessed on their shares of students who were proficient or above proficient in their mathematics and reading/language arts state assessments. Half the formula was the results themselves; the other half was the results in the context of socioeconomic demographics,” according to an explanation of the methodology from the U.S. News and World Report rankings shared in a post on HPISD’s website.
“While some of the ratings ranked some HP schools very favorably — and in some cases less so, HPISD approaches these with caution for many reasons,” the post on HPISD’s website continues. Half the formula was the results themselves; the other half was the results in the context of socioeconomic demographics,” according to an explanation of U.S. News and World Report methodology shared in a post on HPISD’s website.