Battle Over Dallas County Schools' Future Heats Up on First Day of Early Voting

The fight over the future of Dallas County Schools was apparent at polling locations during the first day of early voting Monday.

The agency is in charge of bussing school children in nine North Texas districts including the Dallas Independent School District.

State Sen. Don Huffines (R-Dallas) has started a political action committee to get the organization shut down.

“We’re here today to urge every voter in Dallas County to vote against Dallas County Schools,” said Huffines.

Huffines was with Dallas ISD trustees Edwin Flores and Dustin Marshall. Flores said the bureaucracy at DCS is out of control; Marshall is confident Dallas ISD can handle its own bussing.

“There are several ISDs all throughout the state of Texas that operate their own busing service and they do so with higher reliability and better safety records than Dallas County Schools is doing,” said Marshall.

A yearlong series of reports into DCS by NBC 5 Investigates exposed dangerous bus driving, a lack of accountability and risky spending on a school bus camera program -- all of which put Dallas County Schools in dire financial straits.

Glorial Levario, president of the Dallas County Schools board of directors, said the organization is different now under new leadership. She too was at a polling place talking to voters.

“It has done a complete makeover. We have gotten rid of all of the people that were involved, about a year or so ago, in all this mismanagement,” said Levario.

She believes DCS is best equipped to take care of busing. So does trustee Dr. Kyle Renard.

“We have totally taken corrective measures. We have put policies in place [to] make it so this cannot happen again. Very stringent policies. Our employees have responded,” said Renard.

State Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas) was behind the amendment that put this on the ballot. He wanted the voters to make the decision. But West is not saying how he is voting, telling NBC 5 he does not want to influence anyone.

“Most importantly, you should talk with your representatives on the school boards of the various districts that are being serviced by this particular system to determine whether or not they should be supported or whether or not they should go away,” said West.

Early voting runs until Nov. 3; Election Day is Nov. 7.

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