DALLAS COUNTY (CBS11) – Dallas County Schools is not a traditional school district.READ MORE: Security Expert Shares 'Run, Hide, Fight' Guidance In Wake Of Colleyville Synagogue Hostage Situation
It doesn’t operate schools, despite having an elected school board.
DCS is the largest provider for bus transportation for area school districts. With close to 3,000 employees, including bus drivers and crossing guards, DCS operates on a $180 million annual budget.
Earlier this week, trustees learned the budget is so financially fragile, the operation may not be able to pay $14 million in required payments in May. DCS currently projects at $40 million deficit for this fiscal year.
“If we do nothing, there will be problems, but we aren’t going to sit here and do nothing,” board president Larry Duncan said Wednesday.
Duncan points to bad revenue projections, including the sell off of a bus camera system, as reasons for the deficit.READ MORE: Colleyville's Congregation Beth Israel Gathers For Special Service In Response To Saturday's Hostage Situation
The stop-arm camera system is a program that records drivers who drive past buses while red-lights are flashing. It’s a violation of Texas law to drive by school buses while they have flashed red lights or extended a stop sign.
The stop-arm system isn’t generating revenue from violators to warrant DCS ‘s continued investment.
As a result, several DCS employees were laid off. But Duncan admits the agency’s fiscal challenges extend beyond the camera system.
Superintendent Rick Sorrells has called for an investigation into the deficit, which could include an external audit of the organization’s finances.
School districts like Dallas ISD spend millions with DCS for bus services, but Thursday, the Dallas ISD board will vote on whether to renew a services contract with DCS.MORE NEWS: 2 Shot In Possible Road Rage Incident In Justin
Dallas ISD has expressed concern over quality bus service, including increasing rates of drivers failing to pick up or deliver students on time.