Another school district has cut ties with school bus provider Dallas County Schools.
After six years, the White Settlement Independent School District is switching from DCS for another bus service. Trustees recently approved a new, three-year contract with Goldstar Transit. A district spokeswoman said the move would save WSISD more than $20,000.
In a statement to NBC 5 Dallas County Schools applauded the decision by WSISD.
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"This is a good decision for White Settlement because they will be able to share drivers with other smaller school districts in the area. We stand ready to help them with a seamless transition. Dallas County tax dollars were not used in servicing this district so this decision has zero impact on the Dallas County Schools operating budget. This it is a contract outside of Dallas County and DCS invoiced for the cost of services, which will now be absorbed by the district," the statement read
While trying to recover from serious financial issues, the beleaguered bus agency has seen longtime superintendent Rick Sorrells retire and has recently lost contracts worth millions of dollars with school districts in Coppell and Weatherford.
More trouble could be on the horizon for DCS. A bill that could dissolve the agency is currently making its way through the state legislature.
Cedar Hill and Carrolton/Farmers Branch ISDs will vote on its contracts next month. Lancaster ISD has already received several competitive bids for its contract and DeSoto ISD is considering an RFP as well.
The agency, meanwhile, remains confident that it can survive. In February, the Dallas ISD approved a $50 million 17-month contract designed to give the district more power in the relationship while holding the agency more accountable for shortcomings.
Meanwhile, DCS interim Superintendent Leatha Mullins is trying to hold off a legislative panel recommending the agency be put out of business altogether.
If DCS is dissolved, Dallas ISD could potentially be asked to pick up the slack. Superintendent Michael Hinojosa said the district could fill in, but only for a limited time.
"We're not looking for more work," he said. "We don't want to do this, but, if necessary, we're ready to step up.
Late Wednesday night DCS sent the following statment in response.
"The Dallas Independent School District says it can take over bus transportation for about a year. That was a surprise to DCS and to the smaller school districts it serves. It’s unknown if those school districts will accept a DISD-run bus system, even for a year. This issue has more questions than answers."