A North Texas school board voted to terminate its contract with Dallas County Schools, the insolvent and scandal-plagued bureaucracy that a Dallas lawmaker wants to abolish altogether.

At a board meeting on Monday, Weatherford ISD trustees approved termination of the district’s Interlocal Agreement to provide transportation services. Dallas ISD remains DCS’s largest customer.

NBC 5 reports that WISD spokeswoman Charlotte LaGrone said the district’s agreement with DCS will terminate on June 30. It was signed in August 2016 and originally set to run through 2019. LaGrone said the decision to drop DCS was in line with the district’s plan to “bring transportation services in-house.”

DCS has been under fire for serious financial, performance, and safety problems, including a $42 million budget shortfall, a controversial school bus stop-arm ticketing program that’s $20 million behind revenue projections, and $30 million in transactions missing from the district’s books. On top of its fiscal collapse, safety concerns were raised when DCS bus drivers were caught on camera running hundreds of red lights. The traffic tickets cost taxpayers over $80,000, and even after the scandal was exposed, only two drivers were fired.

The controversies spurred State Sen. Don Huffines (R-Dallas) to file legislation that would shut down the bureaucracy. His bill, SB 1122, abolishes DCS, creating a dissolution committee to wind down the agency by September 2018 and pay off its debt. At a press conference, Huffines called DCS “an outdated, unnecessary bureaucracy that is dangerous for students and a rip off for Dallas County taxpayers.”

Former DCS Superintendent Rick Sorrells – who was forced to retire in the face of the mounting scandals – had argued that “dissolving the agency would be catastrophic for the children and for the school districts.” Huffines contended that school districts currently contracting with DCS for transportation services can find alternative options that are safer and more efficient.

Weatherford ISD has done just that. Will other school districts follow suit?

DCS has already removed references to Weatherford ISD from its website. The 11 school districts now contracting with DCS for bus service are Aledo, Carrollton/Farmers Branch, Cedar Hill, Coppell, DeSoto, Dallas, Highland Park, Irving, Lancaster, Richardson, and White Settlement.

Erin Anderson

Erin Anderson is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard, reporting on state and local issues, events, and government actions that impact people in communities throughout Texas and the DFW Metroplex. A native Texan, Erin grew up in the Houston area and now lives in Collin County.