Hearing on Dallas County School's Fate Gets Tense as Agency, DISD Defend Their Positions

AUSTIN - A heated legislative hearing on the future of Dallas County Schools stretched long into the evening Tuesday as the agency's officials once again tried to fend off attempts to close it down.But that job got harder this week after reports that the bus service provider entered into a land deal in which DCS sold property it owned only to lease it back. KXAS-TV (NBC5) reported the real estate transaction saying it put taxpayers on the hook for millions over the next two decades and benefitted those who already had ties to other questionable dealings with the agency.Interim DCS superintendent Leatha Mullins maintained that the agency should be reprieved as new leadership is in place with turnaround efforts including various reviews of finances and business dealings.But representatives on the House's Public Education committee wondered often if she was doing enough to find out exactly how the agency got into the mess it's in now in order to fix it. One asked pointedly if she thought any criminal behavior occurred."I cannot tell you that," Mullins responded. "Everything to me looks like it followed the proper procurement process, but I can't tell you the heart behind what happened. I can't tell you the intention behind that."She noted that consultants - which include a former FBI agent - are finishing a report that she said would be released soon. She added forensic audit trail was to be completed by October.The agency's fate is uncertain. Earlier this month, the Senate approved a bill that would allow Dallas County voters to determine in November whether or not it should continue.  Continue reading...

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