UPDATEIn a press conference held by the U.S. Attorney’s office, the IRS, and the FBI, it was revealed that Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway has pleaded guilty this morning to tax evasion and conspiracy to commit honest services/wire fraud.

The councilman, who had been term limited out of office and then ran again against Carolyn King Arnold last year, also said in court this morning that he had resigned his seat, effective immediately.

U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox told reporters that Force Multiplier Solutions’ Robert Leonard provided kickbacks, bribes, and other benefits to the tune of $450,000 to Caraway, all related to easing the way for Dallas County Schools’ school bus camera program. (more…)

bus

(Photo courtesy Dallas County Schools)

As the committee charged with unspooling and winding down operations for Dallas County Schools continues to churn along, Dallas Independent School District is also getting its ducks — or rather, buses — in a row.

At last week’s board briefing, trustees were introduced to the district’s new executive director of transportation, Dr. Kayne Smith, who arrives in Dallas from a stint at Beaumont ISD. (more…)

Dallas ISD

Hopefully this is the last time we have to explain this.

After last week’s vote to dismantle Dallas County Schools, I learned that there are a few people that — despite lots of news coverage that should explain the difference — think Dallas County Schools and Dallas ISD are the same thing.

The day after the election, in fact, someone told me, “I voted to abolish DISD.” I took a deep breath, and said, “You mean DCS?”

“Same thing,” the person replied.

(more…)

Hinojosa

(Photo courtesy Dallas ISD)

A lot may be up in the air right now about how students will be transported after this year, Dallas ISD superintendent Michael Hinojosa does know that the district’s entry into the bus business was a reluctant — but necessary — one.

Hinojosa met with reporters Wednesday morning and stressed that bus service would remain up and running despite voters choosing to dissolve Dallas County Schools, and there would be no disruption in service to students who rely on them.

“I don’t want to be in the bus business,” Hinojosa said. “However, this is an important service.”

“We need this service. Don’t wanna be in it. It’s not fun. It’s hard work. However, it’s very important that this service be available to our community.” (more…)

Dallas County

Dallas county voters opted to shutter Dallas County Schools last night with 58 percent of the vote (Photo courtesy Dallas County Schools).

Less than 7 percent of Dallas County registered voters cast ballots to decide the fate of Dallas County Schools — and those 83,209 voters (out of about 1.3 million registered voters in the county) chose to shutter the embattled school bus provider.

“I think we put up a good fight given that we had zero money to fight this while our opponents spent thousands of dollars,” DCS board president Gloria Levario told The Dallas Morning News. “It will be business as usual for our employees, but that’s all I know for now.”

Levario also said that all DCS employees will continue to have jobs through the end of the school year — buses will continue to run.

Now that 58 percent of voters have opted to pull the plug on the agency, the current DCS board and superintendent will be replaced by a committee made up of representatives from school districts and appointees from the state comptroller’s office by Nov. 15. That committee will begin working with the districts that use DCS to unspool the agency and end operations after the school year, distributing DCS assets among the school districts.

Districts currently utilizing DCS for bus service are Aledo ISD, Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD, Cedar Hill ISD, DeSoto ISD, Dallas ISD, Highland Park ISD, Irving ISD, Lancaster ISD, and Richardson ISD.

(more…)

vote

The fate of the embattled Dallas County Schools is on today’s ballot – but several other important things are on there, too (Photo courtesy Dallas County Schools).

Today is Election Day, and since there aren’t any candidates, very few will likely bother to vote, despite the fact that some very important things are on the ballot.

How can I say that with such confidence? Early voting totals show that a little more than 2 percent of registered voters in Dallas County have voted so far.

I don’t think it will get much better today.

In the off chance that you haven’t voted yet and weren’t planning to, I thought I’d outline what your Dallas County ballot will look like, and what you’ll be voting on. Full disclosure: I waited until today to vote as well.

This isn’t meant to be endorsements of any of the measures on the ballot, but instead is a rundown on what you will see. We’ll go in the order the measures are found on the ballot, too. (more…)

DCS

Dallas County Schools is the subject of controversy again after students brought home campaign literature they say was given to them by DCS drivers (Photo courtesy Dallas County Schools).

Dallas County Schools is finding itself in the middle of yet another controversy — all while working to assure voters that it has charted a course to right the ship before a crucial vote that will decide the entity’s fate.

It didn’t take long this week for word to get out. Parents emailed me and messaged me, and even mentioned it on Facebook — their children had been given pro-DCS campaign materials by their bus driver, and instructed to give it to their parents. (more…)

DCS

(Photo courtesy Dallas County Schools)

[Editors Note: CandysDirt.com reached out to both Dallas County Schools and advocates for ending Dallas County Schools, for his thoughts on the upcoming proposition regarding DCS. Dustin Marshall provided his thoughts last week, and DCS trustee Kyle Renard provides hers this week. Early voting began Monday, and continues until Nov. 3. Election Day is Nov. 7.]

By Kyle Renard, M.D.
Special Contributor

By now, you have probably heard one side of the story for what weighs in the balance for the vote on Dallas County Schools, which operates school buses for several districts in North Texas. As a DCS trustee, I want to present the other side for Proposition A. (more…)