The student news site of Carroll Senior High School

Dragon Media

The student news site of Carroll Senior High School

Dragon Media

The student news site of Carroll Senior High School

Dragon Media

Backlash after board hears presentation regarding new academy

The school board discussed a new addition to its Career and Technical Education program as well as their approach to recapture payment

The school board held a special board workshop that included information surrounding the proposal for the Carroll Business Academy (CBA) and recapture payments on September 11. The meeting agenda was intended for public information rather than taking action.

Carroll Business Academy

After a brief memorial for the events of Sept. 11, 2001, Gina Peddy, the executive director of the curriculum and instruction for the district, introduced the long term plan for the CBA program. 

“We currently have a lot of kids who are interested in the business program but they’re going the CMA route, so we looked at ‘How can we bring curriculum to our business program that will be exciting for our kids who want to become entrepreneurs?’” Peddy said. “We have a lot of kids who are already doing [business classes] on their own, so we are thrilled about this possibility.”

The plans for CBA were developed by trustees and community members. 

​​”They tell me they have been working on this kind of behind the scenes for a while and they want to see it come to fruition, they apparently have reached a point where they want to go ahead and begin to speak more publicly about it,” Principal Ryan Wilson said.

If the plans for CBA are approved and added to the academic planning guide in the winter, the senior high will have to create plans for teachers who will be part of the program.

“We have to ask ourselves ‘How many teachers do we currently have that are serving a business capacity?’” Wilson said. “We’ve got to make some decisions. For example, if we’ve only got one teacher, and we need three classes, we’re going to have to change what they teach.”

CBA’s plans as proposed during the meeting include having a Career Day and “Shark Tank” style presentations called Dragon Tank. Southlake residents Guy Midkiff and Danny Batsalkin presented the information at the meeting.

“It goes back to when my daughter was in Carroll Medical Academy … one of things I noticed was that some of the kids decided to go into the business world,”  said Midkiff in his presentation before the board. “I went out and grabbed the domain name years ago and I didn’t really know what I was going to do with it and then all of the pieces started coming together.”

Following the meeting, the two presenters quickly garnered criticism online from individuals and organizations such as Southlake Together for their online behavior. 

The former pilot’s posts on X, formerly Twitter, (@GuyMidkiff) include criticizing pandemic lockdowns and alluding to a slur targeting mentally disabled people. During the presentation, Batsalkin, a former lawyer, said he moved to Southlake about two years ago and he gained inspiration for CBA from a professor he met while in law school.

“The next time you hear a liberal college professor tell you something, remember that if you can’t do, teach,” Batsalkin (@iamdima) said in one of his posts on X. Another post suggested the importance of “Traditional Family Values” in households, advocating for women to not work and for only biological children.

Neither Midkiff nor Batsalkin immediately responded to requests for comment.

Recapture payment

After going over accountability and STAAR testing information, the board discussed refusing recapture payments, the process in which the state uses property tax revenue from property-wealthy school districts such as Carroll to give to districts in need of funding specifically for educational use. The frustration from the board comes after not receiving confirmation from the state on how much of the payment has gone towards meeting the goal of wealth equalization.

In August 2022, the district sent $34,445,517 to the state for redistribution.

“As a taxing authority, we have a fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers in the community to inform them where their money is being spent,” trustee Cameron Bryan said. “Unfortunately, there’s a $38 million in property taxes from this past year and previous years unaccounted for, or at least we are not being told where it is going.”

Although the board is united in their irritation, there is still ongoing deliberation on how to approach the issue. According to the Texas Education Agency, if the board decides not to send the payment, the district will be considered delinquent and may be prevented from adopting new tax rates among other repercussions.

“I think we have to be very careful,” Trustee Alex Sexton said. “It looks to me, if we were to pass this resolution, I think we’re saying in plain English that ‘we’re not going to pay you’ and that could come with some consequences…If we’re going to do this, then we have to be ready to go all the way.”

Screen capture of the live streamed Sept. 11 board meeting
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About the Contributor
Pragnya Kaginele, Co-Editor in Chief
Pragnya is a junior at Carroll High School in her third year of Dragon Media and is currently the co-editor-in-chief of The Dragon Tribune. Outside of school, she has written for Community Impact and been selected for workshops with the Mayborn School of Journalism at UNT and Youthcast Media Group. She also works at Kumon and enjoys tutoring. She is passionate about current events and is an avid Manchester City fan.