DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – One week after voters decided to abolish Dallas County Schools, more than a dozen of the agency’s school bus drivers made emotional pleas to the public.
Michelle Foster, a DCS driver for 13 years said, “Our job is to take your precious dumplings to school and make sure they’re safe.”
She and others say they believe they are scapegoats, wrongly accused of unsafe driving, and other major problems the agency is accused of including mismanagement and questionable deals.
Linda Barrett organized the news conference Tuesday morning. “We’re not saying there weren’t problems. There were problems. But the drivers should not have been thrown under the bus.”
Another driver, Sheila Gregory said, “We do our job, we do them well. Any job you go to may have errors.”
Gregory and others say their biggest concern is once the agency shuts down for good at the end of the school year, they’ll have to apply for jobs at the school districts that will take-over transporting students next fall. “Keep us, we’re your drivers. We’re who have been getting your children, grand-kids, nieces and nephews back and forth to school safely. Why should we go and have to put application in other places?”
Foster agreed, “I don’t get it, why are people coming in and telling us it’s our fighting, we got to go find another job. We got something. They need to come take care of us. We’re taking care of their kids.”
Dallas Independent School District is the largest district in Dallas County that relied on DCS.
Last week, the superintendent said they want to hire drivers, and just days ago, a DISD spokeswoman says an assistant superintendent met with DCS employees to hear their concerns, something the spokeswoman said DCS did not allow before the election.
Among the drivers’ concerns, what will happen to their salaries and benefits. “All these people who’ve not had social security all these years, end up with nothing.”
The drivers are part of the Texas Retirement System.
DISD administrators will present their plan on transporting students to board members during a briefing November 30th. The school board will vote on the matter at a later date.
Meantime, the committee overseeing the dissolution of Dallas County Schools will hold its first meeting Wednesday.