By Joe Farkus, NDG Contributing Writer
Beginning in 2012, the soon-to-be-defunct Dallas County Schools (DCS) took responsibility of Dallas’s multi-million dollar crossing guard program for its public schools. With the organization dissolving this year, its dissolution committee has already approved the cancellation of this specific DCS service by Jan. 31.
Unlike many of DCS’s services which are being absorbed by Dallas ISD, the city will have to take over the crossing guard program if Dallas school children can expect to have crossing guards outside their schools this year and next – a service mandated by Texas law for a city the size of Dallas.
City Hall staff estimate the city will have to come up with nearly $2 million to keep the program running for the remainder of the 2017-18 fiscal year and more than $4 million for the next. Some council members are already calling for raising revenues to pay for this program, which could very well mean higher taxes or new fees for Dallas residents.
“This is an ugly situation that we’re in,” commented Mayor Mike Rawlings during the City Council’s Jan. 3 briefing. “Protection of children is foremost…we’re going to have to work this out together.”
Some have suggested a new fee on car registrations, something Collin and Denton counties currently employ and DCS previously pushed for to help fund its child safety services in Dallas County. There appears to be no support for the introduction of such a fee by the Dallas County Commissioners Court at this time to cover the cost of the city’s newfound responsibility.
Read NDG’s coverage of how Dallas ISD is handling the transition of services from DCS.