With Dallas County Schools under new management, a scathing report reveals what previous leaders had refused to release to the public.
The investigation conducted by a former FBI investigator details potential fraud that led to a $42 million shortfall with the agency. The agency responsible for getting 450,000 kids to school kept the report under wraps for months before the election that would determine its future existence.
In 2014, Dallas County Schools Board President Larry Duncan worked to sell the idea of putting cameras pm school buses as a way to catch bad guys in real time. But an outside investigation ordered by DCS itself found the sales pitch to be false.
The report found "there was no staff scheduled or assigned to review the images in real time.” It said that DCS had acquired "so much unused, uninstalled, camera and modem equipment for the stop arm program” that DCS had to pay for storage space to store the unused equipment.
Employees told the investigators that "DCS paid roughly double what it would have paid on the open market for the camera system,” the report said.
A company called Force Multiplier Solutions profited from it all. It used to be based on the forty-ninth floor of Chase Tower in Downtown Dallas. Building security told FOX 4 the floor is now vacant. The company's owner has not responded to FOX 4’s emails.
Senator Don Huffines led the campaign to shut down DCS and says the report validates the decision by voters.
"Dallas County voters should be outraged they sat on this report for months before the election,” he said. “To me, it looks like the old board was driving the getaway car while someone else was robbing the bank."
The report also describes possible wire fraud, mail fraud, "what could be construed as a bribe,” and the possibility that the now-defunct board "may be exposed to allegations of a conspiracy."
With the financial mess left behind, Huffines admits it's not clear how handing off bus service to school districts will work out.
Dallas County Schools will continue to receive $20 million in property taxes until all of its debts are paid off.
The new CEO of the committee to dissolve Dallas County Schools says, to the best of his knowledge, the FBI and Texas Rangers are investigating.
Senator Huffines says he is confident there will be criminal indictments.