Longtime Dallas County Schools Board of Trustees President Larry Duncan was replaced Wednesday after announcing he was not seeking reelection as president amid ongoing investigations into a $42 million budget gap, the agency's controversial stop-arm camera program and a sale-leaseback land deal that will cost taxpayers millions.
The board also announced Wednesday that they secured bond refinancing that will allow them to continue operations.
"Obviously, our organization has had a rough six months, and it’s been difficult for many of us. We are so very fortunate to have Leatha Mullins fighting for DCS in Austin. She has been tireless in that effort and she has instituted changes that will make us stronger. It is clear to me now, that we have to make a full commitment to the future because there’s nothing we can do to repair the past. I love this organization with all my heart but I have made a decision not to run for re-election as its president. There is a lot of work to do. I am truly hopeful this will redirect the focus to the work that lies ahead," Duncan said in a statement.
Duncan, who has served on the agency's board since 2003, made the announcement Wednesday during a scheduled board meeting.
The DCS board voted quickly to elect at-large trustee Gloria Levario, who then thanked Duncan for his service.
Addtionally, CW Whitaker, Precinct 3 Commissioner and trustee, was named Vice President and replaces outgoing VP Dr. Paul Freeman.
Duncan was named in an NBC 5 Investigates report Monday calling into question the agency's decision to sell taxpayer-owned land in exchange for quick cash, only to lease it back at a greater expense.
There are questions about who profited from the sale-leaseback and whether campaign contributions made to Duncan played any role in who cashed in.
Citing the NBC 5 Investigates report, Texas Rep. Lance Gooden (R-Terrell) told DCS interim Superintendent Leatha Mullins Tuesday that the allegations in the report were very serious and that she should involve law enforcement in the investigation.
In her reply to Gooden, Mullins said the people leading the agency now were no longer part of the decision making process that led to the land deal and that those people were no longer part of the organization.
Duncan was not in Austin Tuesday for the hearing and Mullins declined to answer questions on his behalf.
The embattled school bus agency is looking to restructure $44 million in debt; DCS' general obligation debt rating is now at Ba3, according to Moody's, a level that is below investment grade or what is considered “junk bond status.”
NBC 5 Investigates' Scott Friedman and Eva Parks contributed to this report.