DISD Trustees Should Vote to Put Bus Service on Notice at Wednesday's Meeting

Christmas break can't come soon enough for the agency that provides bus service to tens of thousands of students in North Texas. That's when Dallas County Schools, which employs 2,000 bus drivers to deliver rides to 70,000 students at 11 districts, hopes to complete suspensions for scores of its drivers caught up in a safety scandal that has rocked the confidence of parents and school officials alike. Details of the scandal — involving soaring accident rates, and a history of the agency paying school bus drivers' tickets for running stop signs — emerged over weeks of reporting by NBC 5, and prompted furious reactions from Dallas Independent School District officials. Superintendent Michael Hinojosa said the district would make certain that the agency improves its safety and on-time performance, or the district would look for another provider, despite decades of experience with Dallas County Schools. "Whatever it takes. That's what we will consider. So all options will be on the table," he said last month.Threatening to end the district's relationship with Dallas County Schools is one thing, but making the threat credible is another. The agency is under contract until next year to provide bus services, and it has the advantage of being singled out by name in the district's transportation procurement rules. That's how ingrained the agency's role as bus provider is for DISD.That should change, and a proposal on Wednesday night's agenda at the DISD trustees' meeting would accomplish just that. Trustee Dustin Marshall wants to strike language that names Dallas County Schools in the procurement rules. Instead, it would read simply that the district should contract with an "appropriate transportation provider" when it awards the multiyear bus services contract.  Continue reading...

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