Coppell Independent School District Votes to Terminate Transportation Contract with Dallas County Schools

Second district to back out costing DCS millions in revenue?

The Coppell ISD voted Tuesday to terminate their $4.4 million contract with Dallas County Schools.

The district said an unexpected influx of nearly 1,500 students to its bus routes and a chronic bus driver shortage was the reason behind ending its nearly 30 year relationship with DCS.

"We do have a significant growing student population and we are in a very tight competitive labor makret in the DFW metroplex," said Sid Grant, CISD assistant superintendent for Business and Support Services.

The lack of bus drivers forced some CISD operators to double their workload. That led to busses showing up late, which raised safety concerns for parents like Manpreet Sehgal.

"We were having a lot of safety issues, buses not coming on time, children were more than the buses could accomodate," he said. "They kind of have to wait until that whole (first) period completes before they join their class.So, effectively, they miss almost some part of the education right in the start if the buses are late."

The district's deal will come to an end this summer, before the start of the 2017-2018 school year, on Aug. 1.

Durham School Services will take over for DCS. The district estimates that making the switch will cost an additioinal $550,000 per year. The district could also have to pay upwards of $6 million to buy nearly 60 schools buses. DCS currently provides buses to CISD.

"They will start (recruiting) in April, or May at the latest," Grant said. "(Durham School Services)  will look at advertising and promotions to ensure we have the bus drivers that we need."

This is the second district to terminate their agreement with the troubled bus agency.

Last week, the Weatherford Independent School District board of trustees voted to terminate the $1.3 million contract that went into effect in August 2016. The Weatherford ISD contract was scheduled to expire in 2019 and will now end in June.

Sehgal hopes the new provider can learn from DCS' mistakes as it prepares to roll into Coppell in August.

"Please look into the problems that earlier bus services were having," Seghal demanded of Durham School Services. "Just filling up with the rush of the drivers might not solve all the problems."

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