What to Know
- HB2329 passed the Texas House Committee on Ed., but it's not yet a law. Must pass the full House and Senate before it can be signed.
- SB1122, which would put DCS' future up for public vote in November, passed the Senate May 4 and is currently pending in a House Committee.
- DCS' board president stepped down Wednesday; interim superintendent says they've secured bond refinancing that will allow them to continue.
The Texas House Committee on Public Education passed a bill Thursday that could shut down Dallas County Schools .
The House committee passed HB 2329 on an 8-2 vote. The bill will next be presented to the entire House where it must pass before being handed over to a Senate committee.
The bill, known as HB 2329, was originally filed by State Rep. Cindy Burkett (R-Sunnyvale) in February.
HB 2329, if passed, would strip DCS of its ability to tax people in Dallas County. Then it would be up to local school districts to decide if they want to partner with DCS for bus service. If fewer than 75 percent of students in Dallas County end up receiving services from DCS the agency would be dissolved.
A committee would take over running the agency until it's shut down.
Thursday afternoon, DCS' interim Superintendent Leatha Mullins issued the following statement regarding the state legislature's actions.
"At this moment, I don’t know how to respond. In an exhausting seven weeks, we have met, or are in the process of completing, every single demand from the Legislature," Mullins said in a statement Thursday afternoon. "Our team has done the impossible to complete the audit, refinance the bonds, reorganize procedures and there’s a complete team of new leadership including the Board of Trustees. I am prayerful something can be done to stop the runaway train that’s poised to slam Dallas County Schools, even though we’ve truly transformed DCS and are moving forward."
The latest news from around North Texas.
HB 2329 is one of two proposals in the legislature that could ultimately shut down the agency. The other, SB 1122, was authored by State Sen. Don Huffines (R-Dallas) and would put the agency's future up for public vote in November.
SB 1122 passed the Senate on May 4 and is currently pending in a House Committee.
Thursday morning, Huffines tweeted, "Great news for students, schools, & taxpayers in Dallas! A corrupt & dangerous bureaucracy is one step closer to being shuttered. #txlege"
On Wednesday, DCS Board President Larry Duncan's term expired and he announced he would not seek re-election, saying he was "truly hopeful this will redirect the focus to the work that lies ahead." The DCS board voted quickly to elect at-large trustee Gloria Levario, who then thanked Duncan for his service.
Following reports by NBC 5 Investigates on a controversial $25 million sale-leaseback that will cost Dallas County taxpayers millions, Mullins said Wednesday she will ask law enforcement to investigate the land deal.
Mullins announced earlier in the day that DCS secured bond refinancing that will allow them, for now, to continue to operate.
NBC 5 Investigates' Scott Friedman and Eva Parks contributed to this report.