The Dallas Independent School District told a legislative panel in Austin Tuesday they'd be better off without Dallas County Schools, the agency that's bussed their students for decades.
Leatha Mullins, the acting superintendent of Dallas County Schools, appeared before the State Committee on Education Tuesday to try to save her embattled agency. Meanwhile, her biggest client, Dallas ISD Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa, told senators he's backing Senate Bill 1122 that would put DCS out of business.
Hinojosa said the costs of bus service have risen while the safety and service have declined.
"The data has been overwhelming. The cost per student, the violation of safety and the frustration with some of our choice parents, they are missing school, getting there late," said Hinojosa.
DCS staffers defended the agency saying they're fixing the problems and that they should be given more time. Mullins argued DISD is caving to political pressure.
"They are protecting, as they should, with all of the pressure that's been coming from the legislators. That's what's hitting these guys that hard," said Mullins.
On the stand Tuesday Senators peppered Mullins with questions, some of the most pointed coming from longtime DCS supporter Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas), who reminded Mullins he called on her predecessor Rick Sorrells to resign over frustration with the agency's financial problems.
When asked by West why the agency should be allowed to continue to operate, Mullins said they've been addressing the issues that have frustrated customers and parents caused by people no longer employed by the agency.
Other Senators grilled DCS employees about school bus drivers running red lights, racking up hundreds of tickets, exposed by NBC 5 Investigates.
The latest news from around North Texas.
Safety and money concerns have Dallas ISD trustee Edwin Flores urging Senators to take the wheel and abolish DCS.
"Senators, this is crazy. This is a monopoly that is unaccountable to everybody," Flores said.
The State Committee on Education did not take a vote Tuesday -- we expect that to happen next week.
DCS has been preparing for a fight in Austin for months. Records obtained by NBC 5 Investigates show they've spend about $1 million of taxpayer money on lobbyists and legislative consultants over the last two years.