Late School Buses: Lousy Service Complaints Against DCS

There are new troubles for Dallas County Schools, the school bus agency at the center of an NBC 5 investigation that found hundreds of bus drivers running red lights.

The Coppell Independent School District superintendent sent a note to parents, complaining that DCS is so understaffed many buses are late getting kids to or from school.

In that e-mail, Superintendent Mike Waldrip says the district is having a "trying time" dealing with Dallas County Schools.

Just this week Coppell apparently had problems with many DCS buses running 30 to 40 minutes late.

And they're not the only ones complaining. The school board president at the Dallas Independent School District tells NBC 5 Investigates he has similar concerns about poor service from the area's biggest bus agency.

In recent weeks DCS has become best known for bus drivers running red lights, accumulating hundreds of tickets – that the agency paid for using taxpayer money – and now new concerns about management at DCS, in an email from one of the 11 districts its serves.

Coppell ISD's superintendent told parents, in part:

"...Our team has been in constant communication with Dallas County Schools (DCS) since the beginning of the school year regarding their inconsistencies in services ... Due to illness and terminations, our bus fleet remains under-staffed by DCS.

"At this time, we cannot change our transportation services for the current school year ... we are required to continue our contract with Dallas County Schools' transportation services for our students.

"We appreciate your patience during this trying time with Dallas County Schools."

Dallas ISD School Board President Dan Micciche says his district, the largest in the area, is also seeing an unacceptable number of late buses.

"We need to see a drastic improvement in the bus service that we are provided from Dallas County Schools," Micciche said.

Between that, and the red light ticket scandal, Micciche says it's time for Dallas ISD to consider other bus providers.

"We will ensure that the service improves or we will get another provider to take the kids to school on the buses," Micciche said.

DCS responded Friday, saying:

"Coppell ISD has had a significant and unexpected increase in student population and added 1,500 students to the bus routes. More students require more bus drivers ... We have recently hired new drivers to address this issue but we urgently need about 10 more.

"We are working to fulfill the demand as quickly as possible and we understand the parents' and the district's frustration. We are hopeful local drivers with a commercial license will see this as a terrific opportunity."

The driver shortage is apparently not related to the drivers fired for running red lights. None of the drivers ousted in that scandal were ones that bused kids in Coppell.

NBC 5 Investigates reached out to Coppell ISD Friday night, and a spokesperson said the district did not want to say anything beyond what was in the note to parents.

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