Parties agree to work toward fix for school crossing guards

Monday, January 8th, 2018 @ 6:58AM

DALLAS — State Senator Royce West (D-Dallas) met with Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price, Dallas ISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa, Dallas County Schools Interim Director Alan King, Dallas’ city attorney and city manager and staff for those agencies to discuss solutions to pay for school crossing guards currently employed by Dallas County Schools.

The district, which operates school buses for nine Dallas County school districts, was dissolved, through a referendum approved by Dallas County voters in November 2017 following legislation passed by the Texas Legislature in 2017.

Statement by Senator West

I invited these parties to come together with the expectation that we could come together to at least agree that this is a problem that absolutely must be resolved. Politics and laws aside, what is at issue here is the safety of thousands of children, including elementary age children and their parents who daily rely on the help provided by crossing guards as they go to and from school.

Basically, the City of Dallas is still in the process of determining, to the extent possible, the level of financial commitment that will be required of it by state law. Dallas County must decide if it will act to collect a fee that is being used by districts serving Houston and San Antonio schools to pay for crossing guards. The dissolution committee created by statute has met once to begin sorting through the finances of Dallas County Schools and will meet again later this month. The all-volunteer committee is composed of all the impacted school districts and led by former DISD Superintendent and TEA Commissioner Mike Moses. There is agreement, that even when counting DCS assets, the funds do not exist to pay for crossing guards or to sustain bus service for students until for the remainder of the school year. However there has been discussion of a potential plan possible under state law to maintain existing funding mechanisms, but that plan must be approved by the committee.

The bottom line is that those at the table have agreed to continue discussion and to work cooperatively until a plan can be devised to address short-term and long-term funding for crossing guards. And I will work along with them to provide whatever assistance at my disposal to provide the best possible outcome for our children and their families.

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