Dallas County Schools Showing Signs of Improvement, But Concerns Remain

Dallas County Schools will undergo its second change in leadership in less than six months Friday.

Incoming Interim Superintendent Gary Lindsey will take over for Leatha Mullins, who stepped down Tuesday. His first challenge will be dealing with late buses and drivers missing routes — problems that are giving Dallas County voters less of a reason to keep DCS in operation this November.

"It should be reliable. It should be safe and it should be on time," said Howie Li, as he waited for his son's bus to arrive Thursday near Walnut Hill Elementary School.

On Monday, Li said his children were among several students left stranded at their bus stop.

Li said a DCS dispatcher told him the driver didn't show up for work.

"I was frantic and trying to find out what happened to my kids. Fortunately, like I said, there were good parents who picked them up and dropped them off at school," Li said. "I'm not surprised, but I'm out of patience, frankly."

For more than a year DCS has been dogged by financial mismanagement stemming from a questionable stop-arm camera program once promised to be a boon for the agency.

The agency has also endured losing two lucrative bus contracts, the board president stepping down amid a controversial sale-leaseback deal, and the state legislature trying to shut them down by putting the agency's future in the hands of Dallas County voters this November.

On Thursday administrators with Dallas Independent School District also expressed concern over missed routes, missed stops and late drop-offs.

"Dallas ISD continues to work with our transportation provider, Dallas County Schools, which transports thousands of students for our district each day. While we have seen improvements in service since last year, there is still considerable work to be done to improve the overall service," the district said in a statement.

In a statement to NBC 5, DCS responded to those concerns, saying, "This is a complicated issue and a shared responsibility. We are hopeful DISD will work by our side to resolve their route issues so we can get the children to school on time every day."

Li doesn't know how he will vote come November. He's fed up, but can't picture a life without DCS driving thousands of North Texas kids to school everyday.

"I would vote against them staying open," he said. "But then, on the other hand, I'm also in fear of what's coming."

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