Special Report

Still, the debt incurred by Sorrells ran larger than what the bus depot sale proceeds could cover. “Te debt rendered Dallas County Schools completely

insolvent and caused it to not have adequate funding to continue what it had done since 1894,” said Curtis. While it had been decades since DCSD last housed students in physical classrooms, it provided important services to the independent school districts of Dallas. Tese services included transportation since 1927, as well as online instruction, student mental health services and technology solutions. “What’s important to understand, is that a majority of the cameras purchased remained in a warehouse in unopened boxes and were never utilized,” Curtis added. “Tey were purchased due to the bribes that came in, and sadly convinced Dr. Sorrells to make some poor decisions with taxpayers’ money.” Upon the dissolution, DCSD’s school buses were split up among school districts that had previously relied on its transportation services, one of which was the Dallas Independent School District. With a total population of 155,000 urban students,

Dallas ISD Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa had about six months to figure out how to transport 40,000 of them—who were previously transported by DCSD—across the district’s 230 campuses. As reported in the April issue of School Transportation News, Dallas ISD tapped Kayne Smith, formerly the director of transportation for Beaumont ISD near Houston, to oversee the transition. He and Scott Layne, assistant superintendent of operations, inherited 1,000 school buses, but still had to scramble to fill the driver seats and figure out routing. In July, Dallas ISD officially took over transportation

from DCSD. But one month later at the start of the school year, 100 school bus drivers failed to show up for work. “Unemployment is extremely low in Dallas, and so

there’s not a great [number] of people who are willing, able and qualified to drive buses,” Hinojosa said. “Also, there are a lot of systems that have to be transferred in a short period of time.” He explained that consolidating several bus service centers across the city proved to be a complex problem, as did routing and dispatching. Ten there was the procurement of new digital radios, health insurance, and the onboarding of one thousand new employees. “So trying to do a turnkey operation under the gun in six months that is very high profile certainly created its set of challenges,” Hinojosa added. However, Smith resigned his post after less than one

year on the job to return to his family in the Houston area. Last month, he was named the new director of transportation for Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, succeeding William Powell who earlier this summer was named the district’s assistant superintendent of support services.

24 School Transportation News • OCTOBER 2018

Meanwhile, last year a group of Canadian investors

who were licensed owners of BusGuard technology for use in Canada, decided to purchase the Force Multiplier Solutions intellectual property in a competitive bid, with the goal of making it available across North America. BusPatrol America CEO Jean Souliere said it was only after his new company finalized its acquisition, that it became aware there was a federal criminal investigation against Force Multiplier. “We owned a license for Canada the same way [Dallas County Schools] owned a license for Texas,” Souliere explained. “We were a client for Force Multiplier the same way everyone else was. We were just a client who chose to buy the IP. We wired money to buy the products and then 24 hours later we hear on the news there’s an FBI raid.” With the acquisition a done deal, BusPatrol had a decision to make: Focus on the Canadian market, or step in and help Dallas school districts through the resulting transportation crisis? “Te more cautious approach would have been this is

not your mess, not your problem—stay out. But there was a problem with that, which I wasn’t comfortable with,” said Souliere. “Te problem was all of the students who are relying on this technology to keep them safe, I would have been responsible for taking that away from them, and that’s not part of our culture.” Using its BusGuard technology, BusPatrol America

began servicing existing safety contracts not only in Texas, but nationwide, and hired a new president, David Poirier, a retired U.S. Army officer who led the capture of Saddam Hussein in 2003. More recently, he was a consultant to Force Multiplier and a licensee operating a stand alone BusGuard operation in the northeast U.S. Tis move kept the Dallas cameras running. “We entered into an agreement with BusPatrol that does not involve Robert Leonard or Force Multiplier

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76