DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – There’s been an early shakeup in Dallas ISD’s effort to run its own bus system, as the district’s recently-hired transportation chief resigned to take a similar job near Houston.
The announcement of Kayne Smith’s departure comes as the district acknowledges a very shaky start.
“I’m disappointed,” Superintendent Michael Hinojosa told reporters at district headquarters Wednesday. “I was led to believe that we could handle this from day one. And we haven’t handled it well.”
And the superintendent didn’t mince words.
“We have been delayed in picking up students. We have not picked up students who needed to be picked up. And there were some problems with the efficiency of the routes. We basically duplicated what we picked up from Dallas County Schools and there’s no excuses for that…we should have done better. That has created multiple headaches for our parents and our principals. Everybody has been very patient with us but they don’t need to be much more patient with us. We need to get those resolved.”
Hinojosa declined to criticize the departing Smith, but said ultimately the responsibility and therefore the accountability falls on him.
“Ultimately, I’m responsible for everything that happens in the district. So I hold myself responsible… Being responsibility is finding a solution and now that everybody’s on the team, we have a much better chance to come up with a better long term solutions.”
District leaders were clear that running a bus system was not a job they wanted. It was one they were handed when voters dissolved their tax supported transportation provider, Dallas County Schools. The agency imploded in a bribery scandal that left several North Texas districts to figure out a transportation plan quickly.
Hinojosa says district leaders are working to put long term solutions in place, but fixes won’t be quick. His message to parents: “Be patient with us; but, please communicate with us. We weren’t picking up some kids and parents didn’t let us know. Talk to the principal, but please let us know so we can get you to school.”