DALLAS – The now abolished Dallas County Schools withheld information from districts it served, according to Dallas ISD superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa.
“We've had to request open records,” Hinojosa said on WFAA-TV’s Inside Texas Politics this morning as he discussed trying to determine how many of the DCS buses are owned versus leased.
Hinojosa said DCS, which provided bussing for nine districts until voters abolished the agency on Tuesday, was not cooperative lately.
“That's been a disappointment because I'm the one that spoke up,” Hinojosa explained to WFAA. “I was the only person that was speaking up. We just wanted to have the information so we could make good decisions. We'll get it now because we'll be part of the dissolution committee. But that's one of the disappointments I had - the kind of information we weren't getting despite the multiple requests we were making."
DISD and the eight other districts will inherit DCS busses, Hinojosa said.
But as Tuesday’s election neared, DISD was preparing contingency plans in case voters abolished DCS. Hinojosa said DCS, which was paid $54-million a year from Dallas ISD to transport students to and from school, was not forthcoming with the information about how many busses were owned and how many might have to have leases assumed.
Dallas County Schools made poor businesses decisions, suffered from mismanagement, and a concerning safety record by some drivers.
Hinojosa told Inside Texas Politics that he noticed the quality of Dallas County Schools service slipped in the last year or so. Still, he said DISD would likely hire hundreds of DCS bus drivers as the school district likely will begin its own transportation arm.
The average age of DCS busses is eight years, Hinojosa said, and the average lifespan of school busses is a decade, meaning many are closing in on the end of their usefulness.
In addition, Hinojosa said, the one-cent tax that is paid to Dallas County Schools will not immediately go away despite voters abolishing the agency. It will remain until all of DCS' debt is paid off so as to not burden districts with additional expenses.
Hinojosa said he will represent DISD on the DCS dissolution committee which will begin meeting shortly. Dallas County Schools will wind down in the coming months and the nine districts, including DISD, will be responsible for their own bussing in the fall of 2018.
At next month’s board meeting, DISD will decide whether to start its own transportation arm, Hinojosa said.
Watch Hinojosa's entire interview below: