The state appointed committee that is shutting down Dallas County Schools (DCS) is a step closer to selling piles of school bus camera equipment stacked in a warehouse and never used. All of it bought at taxpayer expense.
The committee said Monday it has received at least two bids from parties interested in buying the cameras. But it appears taxpayers will take another financial hit on the deal.
NBC 5 Investigates showed you the DCS camera warehouse in exclusive video earlier this month revealing mounds of boxes collecting dust. They are a visual reminder of how former DCS management kept buying camera equipment even as the bus camera business venture the agency operated lost money.
The FBI is now investigating the agency’s bus camera contracts. One man has already pleaded guilty in exchange for his testimony in what prosecutors have described as a money laundering and bribery scheme.
DCS once partnered with a private company to acquire bus safety cameras and gave them to other communities at no cost in exchange for a portion of the revenue collected from people caught on camera illegally passing the school bus stop sign.
The committee charged with closing DCS wants to sell not only the cameras but also a technology license that allowed DCS to operate school bus stop arm camera programs in other communities.
The agency spent about $20 million for that license -- but the bids received so far would bring in only about $2 million on the sale of the license.
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“Pretty big loss but we've also got a lot of cameras out there that don't seem to have much value either so we're just working through that. Not much I can do”, said Alan King, CEO of the DCS Dissolution Committee.
King said he is simply trying to bring in as much value as possible to help pay off some of the agency’s remaining debts before it is closed this summer. DCS property taxes will still be collected in Dallas County beyond this summer until all of remaining debts are paid.
The committee recently estimated the value of the unused cameras themselves at about $3 million but the former school agency management racked up about $30 million in debt acquiring cameras.
Between now and a meeting in April the committee hopes to negotiate with potential buyers to get the best possible price.