DALLAS - The Dallas Independent School District is leaning toward taking bussing operations in-house after voters killed off its longtime bussing partner.
Dallas County Schools will only be around until the end of the current school year after a November election dissolved the embattled agency.
Dallas and several other school districts will lose the agency that now provides the service. It will have to figure out a way to transport students to and from school starting in August of next year.
Scott Layne, DISD’s Deputy Director of Operations, said the district could choose to go with contract services, a combination of in-house and contract services or move operations in house. He said taking all bussing in house is the best choice.
“We hope to have everything in place within the next six months. Our plan is to try and start the in-house program upon the conclusion of school and prior to the start of summer school,” Layne said.
The district was paying DCS $54 million a year for its contact. Under the new plan, the annual projected cost is about $47 million.
The district would bring on more than 1,100 new employees, including drivers and bus monitors to operate 925 buses. Bus drivers would also come on at the same hourly rate they were making with DCS and can carry over their benefits.
But some representatives of the bus employees still have concerns.
“They are not looking at the perspective of the drivers and the people on the ground doing the work. I think they are glossing over a lot of potential problems that's going to arise,” said Kenneth Stretcher, United Labor Union Local 100 (Bus Driver Union)
Layne said moving bus operations in-house brings DISD in line with other major districts in the state. But there are still lots of questions and some trustees worried about unforeseen expenditures.
“How much is this going to cost us and then as some people would say, if you don't have it in that $53 million budget, where are you going to take the money from,” said board member Joyce Forman.
A final decision is expected at a future board meeting.