Bill That Would Allow Voters to Decide Fate of Dallas County Schools Heads to Governor's Desk

The Texas Legislature has passed a bill that would allow Dallas County voters to decide whether to close school bus agency Dallas County Schools.

The bill now moves on to Governor Greg Abbot's desk.

If signed by Governor Abbott, voters would make the final decision in November.

NBC 5 reached out to DCS but they did not immediately respond to today's developments.

The author of the bill – State Sen. Don Huffines, R-Dallas – released a statement on Saturday after passage of the bill.

"The Texas Legislature has acted to give voters the opportunity they deserve: the chance to abolish Dallas’ corrupt and dangerous bus bureaucracy. Having worked on this issue for more than two years, I’m greatly appreciative of the Dallas delegation and all of my colleagues in the Legislature for understanding the risk to Dallas students, schools, and taxpayers, and for acting on my solution. I’m confident that Dallas voters are fed up with the corrupt, self-serving politicians who have ripped-off taxpayers and threatened our students."

For months, NBC 5 Investigates has been reporting on the serious financial trouble at DCS.

The DCS board just approved the restructuring deal last week that would have given the agency cash to continue operating.

But government bond deals must be approved by the Attorney General's Office in Texas.

On Friday, the Texas Attorney General's Office informed Dallas County Schools it will not be allowed to restructure its bond debt.

Without that restructuring deal the troubled school bus agency could default on its debt payments by June 1 – less than a week away.

DCS owes more than $10 million in debt payments next week. Without the money from the restructuring deal the agency may default on those payments. That puts the entire future of DCS in doubt.

DCS can appeal this ruling from the AG's office.

NBC 5 produced a special in-depth investigative report revealing the latest developments in the ongoing investigation into Dallas County Schools, the taxpayer-funded agency responsible for the daily transportation of 75,000 North Texas students. NBC 5 anchors Brian Curtis and Meredith Land and Senior Investigative Reporter Scott Friedman explain the latest findings in the NBC 5 Investigates' special report, "Big Buses, Bigger Problems: The $25 Million DCS Land Deal," on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. on NBC 5.

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