School services provider Dallas County Schools has been having trouble paying its bills this year, but it received a temporary reprieve from potential closure in the form of a nearly $9 million loan, says NBC 5.
It was confirmed Tuesday that a short-term loan of $8.75 million will be given to DCS. This loan will also have taxpayers covering over $370,000 in interest payments for the next 11 months.
STN reported in June on the controversy that arose after local news reports revealed misconduct by DCS officials, “including contractual violations, fiscal mismanagement, defaulting on debts, questionable land deals and reckless driving by its bus drivers.” Larry Duncan, who was featured in a September 2016 School Transportation News article on DCS' adoption of school bus tablets, resigned his role as board president but remains an active member.
An upcoming vote this fall will give taxpayers the final say on what to do about DCS, as state senators have called for the agency to shut its doors for good. A bus driver pointed out during Tuesday's meeting that taxpayers are upset, to the point where the vote might go against DCS.
Tuesday’s meeting was also attended by union representatives who requested that DCS not cut driver pay or benefits in the meantime. However, the DCS board removed a 30-hour work week guarantee for bus drivers and is considering further cuts to items such as driver holiday pay and benefits.
Some bus drivers and union representatives agreed to rally in support of DCS when the vote to decide the agency’s future is put before citizens in November. But others insisted that DCS isn’t doing enough to boost morale and “needs to do more to convince them and taxpayers that DCS is serious about making changes for a better future,” reported NBC 5.