Sen. Don Huffines Is Right: Dallas County Schools Should Be Abolished

Dallas County Schools operates in relative obscurity. Few county residents know what it does or remember voting for its trustees. It's a public agency that collects property taxes but doesn't operate schools. Its main function is providing bus service to local school districts.Dallas County Schools has been in the news this year because of financial and management problems — and because it could soon disappear. Sen. Don Huffines, R-Dallas, has written a bill, SB 1122, that would abolish the agency, its board of trustees and its superintendent. That's a painful step, but a necessary one. DCS has outlived its utility. School districts still need bus service; they just don't need DCS to provide it.The bill is expected to go before the full Senate next week.According to the agency's website, it began in a one-room schoolhouse in the mid-1800s. In the 1920s, it began offering transportation and audio/visual services to school districts. In the 1960s, it added psychological services. By last year, its reach had expanded still more. Dallas County Schools was providing transportation services to districts outside of Dallas County, as well as school resource officers and technology consulting.DCS executives said they added those services only because school districts requested them. But the assortment of services is haphazard and makes the agency vulnerable to criticism that it duplicates programs available elsewhere.Some school districts also complain about the quality of DCS services. Dallas ISD leaders told the Senate Education Committee that buses are often late and the per-student cost of bus service is high. DCS' recently elected interim superintendent disputed those claims in a letter to the committee's chairman.  Continue reading...

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