DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The voters have spoken and the troubled agency responsible for getting tens of thousands of students to and from school in Dallas County will be abolished. On Tuesday voters cast their ballots and chose to dissolve the current Dallas County Schools (DCS) bus agency.
Dallas County Schools provides transportation for 70,000 students every day. And while the agency is going away school districts across North Texas tried to assure parents that their children would still be transported to and from school safely.
More than 56-percent of voters agreed that the agency should be shut down. While the bus service will temporarily remain the same for students, management of the agency will change before it is ultimately dissolved.
State senator Don Huffines said, “Right now there is going to be a very orderly transition. We will appoint a dissolution committee and they will continue to operate the system like they are right now throughout the school year. So, the big transition won’t really happen until the fall of ’18.”
During a morning press conference Dallas Independent School District (DISD) Superintendent Michael Hinojosa the districts are going to “follow the spirit and the intent of the law as the voters so decided yesterday” and explained how they will come up the additional capital needed to make the transition.
“Our biggest vendor is TRS (Teacher Retirement System of Texas), our second is the IRS and our 3rd biggest vendor is DCS and we spend $54 million,” he said. “So we think that we need to just analyze the $54 million that we’re currently budgeted and see how much we’re gonna be eligible for in transportation reimbursement if we own the vehicles. So, all of that will be laid out for the board. We think that eventually though, with all of that data in front of us, that in the end we will be better off and we will be able to save the taxpayers some dollars.”
At the end of the 2017-2018 school year each of the school districts in Aledo, Carrollton-Farmers Branch, Cedar Hill, Dallas, DeSoto, Highland Park, Irving, Lancaster and Richardson will have to manage their own bus service or hire a private company to pick up kids.
Superintendent Hinojosa also had some words for the employees of DCS. “I want to assure the bus drivers and the dispatchers and all the employees of DCS that they have a position, that they’re highly needed for the next several months and regardless of what happens in the future these entities will still need transportation services. So they will have an opportunity to either work for an outsource company or for one of the school districts should they decide to have their own.”
Hinojosa said there was no way the individual districts would have been able to go forward with the undertaking if the voters hadn’t spoke out at the polls and said while there will be some one-time costs, once the initial expenses are handled he believes “the taxpayers are going to be better off.”
DCS had a $42 million budget deficit early this year because of a revenue shortfall.