As the final results in Texas' off-year election rolled in last night, the city chalked up big victories for each of the 10 bond proposals placed on the ballot by the Dallas City Council. Seven amendments to the Texas Constitution were rubber stamped in Dallas and around the state, as well.
The night's only clear loser was Dallas County Schools, the school district that doesn't actually operate any schools. The agency, formed when kids had to be bused in to schools far away from their homes, provides transportation for students from nine of the county's independent school districts, including Dallas ISD. Voters elected Tuesday to shut DCS down by a 58-42 margin, setting in motion a plan that will see the agency dissolved before the beginning of the 2018-19 school year in August.
Earlier this year, Dallas state Sen. Don Huffines orchestrated the legislative push that got DCS' fate placed on the ballot. The senator and the agency's numerous other critics pointed to the agency's financial mismanagement — it lost $50 million on a plan to equip its buses' stop arms with cameras to catch drivers who rolled passed — safety record and inefficiency as reasons to hand transportation back to the school districts.
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"The citizens of Dallas County are going to be the big winners tonight because we’re going to get rid of a dangerous, unreliable and financially corrupt government-run bus bureaucracy, and it’s really ripping off taxpayers,” Huffines told KTVT-TV Tuesday night after a day of visiting polling places to campaign against the agency.
By Nov. 15, a committee made up of representatives from DCS and its member districts will get together to figure out how DCS' resources should be divvied up before the districts take over transportation next year. Dallas ISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa is expected to comment on his district's role in the process later Wednesday morning.
On the city of Dallas front, each of the City Council's bond proposals got at least 62 percent of the vote, enabling the city to borrow all of the $1 billion-plus it wants to repair the city's streets, spruce up the city's libraries and parks, and spend on Fair Park maintenance. Dallas' police and fire stations will be getting long-awaited security improvements, too.
The resistance to the bond measures promised by those angry about the City Council's decision to remove the statue of Robert E. Lee from Oak Lawn Park did not materialize in any meaningful way.