Taxpayers Lose as School Bus Agency Sells Off Public Property to Raise Cash

When the obscure local agency that runs school buses in Dallas County sank into financial trouble, it found a way to raise a lot of money fast: It sold off four massive lots where it parks and repairs buses.But since it still needed the lots to operate the school-bus system, the agency agreed to lease them back from the new owner — and cover all the costs, KXAS-TV (NBC5) found in a months-long investigation..Which means taxpayers will be charged millions of dollars to lease property they used to own — and will have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in property taxes that weren’t charged when the lots belonged to the agency, Dallas County Schools.Who profited off this deal? A Louisiana businessman and political donor linked to the business venture that got the agency into financial trouble in the first place.The president of the board of Dallas County Schools, Larry Duncan, would not discuss the real estate transaction. In an email, he said that details of the deal were left up to the agency’s administration. The superintendent in charge at the time, Rick Sorrells, has also declined to answer questions about the deal.Read the full investigative report from NBC5 Investigates — Scott Friedman, Eva Parks and Frank Heinz — here.  Continue reading...

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