A big #txlege victory for students, schools, and taxpayers! - Don Huffines for Texas Senate

  

A big #txlege victory for students, schools, and taxpayers!

I have great news to share with you: we can declare victory in our fight against a dishonest and corrupt group of politicians who ripped off Dallas County taxpayers and threatened our students! Dallas County Schools is an obscure & out-dated government entity supported by property taxes, but it doesn’t hire teachers or educate students. Instead, it runs buses for student transportation, and it has a shockingly poor track record of dangerous driving, unreliability, and financial mismanagement. 

 

I worked for two years to bring an end to this corrupt and dangerous bus bureaucracy, and I’m proud to say that the Legislature acted, sending not one but two bills to Governor Greg Abbott’s desk! Gromer Jeffers of The Dallas Morning News announced it on Twitter:

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Thanks, Gromer. More importantly, it’s a victory for Dallas students, schools, and taxpayers!

I dedicated more than two years of time and energy to fighting this corrupt and dangerous government bureaucracy. It hasn’t always been easy, but I was motivated by repeated stories of how these politicians threatened student safety and ripped off taxpayers, and I made this my top priority. Check out the award-winning public service journalism by the NBC 5 investigative team to learn more. Be ready to be outraged. 


In April, The Dallas Morning News praised my effort in an editorial titled: "Sen. Don Huffines is right: Dallas County Schools should be abolished." It explains the crisis well. Here is a key excerpt:

Dallas County Schools operates in relative obscurity. Few county residents know what it does or remember voting for its trustees. It's a public agency that collects property taxes but doesn't operate schools. Its main function is providing bus service to local school districts.

Dallas County Schools has been in the news this year because of financial and management problems — and because it could soon disappear. Sen. Don Huffines, R-Dallas, has written a bill, SB 1122, that would abolish the agency, its board of trustees and its superintendent. That's a painful step, but a necessary one. DCS has outlived its utility. School districts still need bus service; they just don't need DCS to provide it.
Now, since my bill has passed the Legislature twice in the form of amendments to other bills, the voters will get the opportunity they deserve: to protect students, schools, and taxpayers by abolishing Dallas County Schools! This corrupt and dangerous bureaucracy will be on the ballot this November, giving voters the opportunity to fight back against corruption and to send a message that we will not tolerate politicians who endanger our children!

This was no small task! It’s incredibly difficult to get rid of bureaucracy, and this particular organization employed a $1 million team of taxpayer-funded lobbyists to fight my efforts to end their corruption. This old and unnecessary government bureaucracy fought hard, but we prevailed on behalf of students, taxpayers, and schools.

I haven’t waged this fight alone. Dallas ISD leaders supported my effort to end this corrupt and dangerous bureaucracy. DISD Trustee Edwin Flores, testifying before the Senate Education Committee in support of my bill, said, "This is about unaccountable bureaucracy gone wild. It's that simple.” Several State Representatives have been critically important to the bipartisan effort to end DCS: Representative Rafael Anchia (D-Dallas), Representative Linda Koop (R-Dallas), Representative Lance Gooden (R-Terrell), Representative Cindy Burkett (R-Sunnyvale), and others. Students, schools, and taxpayers owe these leaders a debt of gratitude for the work they did to help me finish the job.

Severe & Urgent Financial Problems

On Friday, May 26, just days before the Legislature sent two bills to Governor Abbott, the Texas Attorney General’s Office rejected DCS’ request to soak taxpayers in millions of dollars in more debt. That’s great news for taxpayers, but it’s bad news for the dishonest bureaucrats who needed the loan just to keep their doors open and make payroll. I always knew the financial collapse of DCS was imminent due to the extent of their financial mismanagement. Now, it’s apparent that the new leadership lied and covered-up how badly the previous leaders mismanaged taxpayers’ money, and the whole organization could be rapidly headed for bankruptcy. They gambled with taxpayers’ money and lost, then covered it up. They must be held accountable! 

But first, DCS must stop all non-essential spending and functions. The bureaucracy must place itself into wind-down mode in anticipation of bankruptcy and a voter-imposed shut down. Criminal investigations will be forthcoming.

Voters Will Have a Voice in Abolishing this Corrupt & Dangerous Bureaucracy

While the Texas Legislature has the authority to abolish Dallas County Schools, the legislative process is imperfect. I accepted an amendment from Senator Royce West (D-Dallas) to let the voters decide the fate of Dallas County Schools, and that helped send the bill out of the Senate with a 30-1 vote. 
With Governor Abbott’s signature, voters will have a voice this November. When taxpayers and parents who are fed up with corruption go to the polls, I’m confident that they will not tolerate the corrupt and dangerous track record of this bureaucracy.
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This was a huge victory for Dallas County taxpayers, students, and schools. Soon, I will share many more updates on your Texas Legislature. Stay tuned for a complete report on what your Legislature accomplished and how I worked for you.

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