Dallas ISD welcomes new head of bus transportation

The Dallas ISD School Board welcomed the man who will take on the large task of running the district's school bus operations.

DISD will have to run its own buses next school year after the demise of Dallas County Schools, the agency that has been providing bus service.

Dr. Kayne Smith is the new executive director of transportation. He is taking the reins from Scott Layne, the deputy superintendent of operations who's been shepherding the district through the transition process. Smith comes from Beaumont ISD and started driving school buses at 18 years old to pay for college.

“It’s a pretty massive job,” Layne said. “A $54 million budget, a program that we will put in place in a 60-month period, hiring over 1,100 employees taking in over 960 buses — it's a very monumental task.”

The district is also looking to buy the Dallas County Schools building for bus driver training and purchase three to four service centers.

Layne says the goal was to have the bus program operational for the start of summer school, but the rollout is taking longer than expected. Now, it will start in the fall.

There's also the lingering and thorny issue of crossing guards which were handled and paid for by Dallas County Schools, but will be absorbed by the city of Dallas.

“The law is on our side,” said DISD Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa. “The law says in a jurisdiction of that size, it is the responsibility of the city to operate the crossing guard program.”

Layne says they have yet to hear much from the city about the crossing guard program, but he expects the city will meet with the district to hammer out the plan.

The district has 624 bus applicants, but it has 765 positions to fill.