DISD Bans Teachers from Driving School Buses, Further Endearing Mike Miles to DISD's Rank-and-File

ChrisFarleyBillyMadisonSchoolBusDriver.jpg
A rough approximation of how Dallas ISD's bus-driving teachers are feeling right about now.
Update at 3:31 p.m.: DISD spokesman Jon Dahlander called to tell us we -- and Brett Shipp -- got it all wrong. "This was not a Mike Miles decision," he says. "This is a decision that was made by the operations department of our school district."

As for why: "It had been brought to our attention that in at least one instance, and perhaps two, there was ... an individual who was billing the district and the county for the same time. As a result, we put in safeguards to keep it from happening."

Most of the bus driving teachers were doing their jobs, and the district regrets their loss of income, but the decision impacts 37 out of around 20,000 employees. And once again, Dahlander says, it was not Mike Miles' fault. "He gets blamed for everything these days."

Original post: Dallas ISD superintendent Mike Miles hasn't done a great job of endearing himself to teachers during his first year and a half on the job. Much of this was to be expected, preordained by Miles' reputation as a hard-charging reformer bent on implementing a controversial pay-for-performance plan and canning bad teachers.

Often, however, it seems as if he's not even trying, or, if he is, that he's doing so in such a clumsy way that it doesn't matter. To name just a couple of the most recent examples, he sent a letter to some 150 Texas school districts asking them not to hire DISD teachers for the coming school year and appointed former trustee Edwin Flores, who only stopped being teachers' arch-nemesis when Miles came on board, to head performance pay implementation.

And yesterday, Miles gave three dozen teachers one more reason to revile him. WFAA's Brett Shipp reports that DISD just adopted a new policy barring its teachers from driving school buses for Dallas County schools. Thirty-seven teaching bus drivers were given an ultimatum on Tuesday giving them 48 hours to decide which job they wanted more.

"It's kind of a shock to me that I'd be handed a piece of paper like this," Freddy Leal, who makes $52,000 per year as a PE teacher, told Shipp. "I would have thought I'd put more into the county to get a little more respect than to be handed a piece of paper saying you need to make a decision by Thursday."

Leal's been driving the bus for a decade, almost the entire time he's been with DISD. It brings in an extra $20,000 in annual income, and it's never been an issue before.

We've emailed district spokesman Jon Dahlander seeking a copy of the new policy and background on what prompted it. Shipp offers that driving a bus means teachers can put in only eight hours, rather than eight-and-a-half.

"We have to put our kids first," DISD operations director Wanda Paul told WFAA. "Teaching and teachers being in the building is our first order of business."

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51 comments
Ghost
Ghost

Okay lets clear up somethings-

Those teachers were not driving buses during instructional time.

They are picking up students BEFORE school and taking them home AFTER SCHOOL. Students who attend the school that they work at.

Which is why you saw school buses during the day at some schools.

The kids are put first.

1 person abused this and should have been fired.

ricosuave025
ricosuave025

Mike Miles gets blamed cause he is the head of the snake.  These bus drivers are not working when students are in their classrooms.  All they are doing is servicing the needs of DISD students before and after school and probably a few weekends a month.  Wanda Wanda states we have to put kids first, well who isn't.  Getting up early and getting home late with DISD students on their bus and in their classrooms sounds like they are putting kids first.  Sad part is why did Dallas County Schools send the memo for DISD I saw it on the Dallas News education blog.  Sounds like DCS was the guinea pig for DISD's decisions.  They should have attached their email from DISD to those drivers and washed their hands of it, but they did not.  Dallas Observer I hope you get the email and expose who made this decision for DISD.  I would like to see the dopes DCS hires to replace their teacher drivers.  They will not be dependable and most will probably quit before Labor Day.  One driver in the morning someone different in the evening.  Ask the parents who they prefer, they are the taxpayers.  Crazy, Crazy, Crazy...makes no sense DISD, and what a blow to the consistency, commitment, and product DCS is putting out there to service the kids needs in DISD.

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

I just got back from DallasISD's HR office where I had the strangest experience.

I've been trying all summer long to get back on the roles as a substitute TA.  There's been one silly roadblock after another.  The website didn't work.  The link was missing.  The web site didn't work again.  The link was in error.  etc., ad infinitum, ad nauseum.

This week, an odd notice appeared saying that the application is available from "from any computer with internet access".  When I tried to click it, it moved away from my mouse.  When I checked the URL to which it was supposedly a link and manually entered it, it came back with a 404 error (file not found).

So I went down to the HR office and sat down at one of the publicly available computers and everything worked fine.  As I was going through the signup process, the desk clerk came over and told me that although TA's are only required to have a HS diploma, SUBSTITUTE TA's must be degreed and certified and sent me packing.  I said, "That's new" and he just nodded and asked me to leave.

I don't blame Mike Miles for this.  I blame the criminals who have infiltrated every level of the school district's non-educator administration - from HR to IT.  And I understand a little better, the insurmountable challenges he has in ridding the district of these [redacted].

Samvan
Samvan

Just like with the teacher assistants being head coaches thiis is another example of miles catching heat for terminating corrupt entitlements. How many millions were lost under Hinojosa with the teacher budget layoffs and pcard but he still kept his job. Give the man a chance.

Shaggy
Shaggy

Doesn't school start August 27th? Today is the 7th. How is this 48 hours notice?  How long does it take to drive to the bus barn in the afternoon, check out a bus and drive back to the school to be ready and waiting when school gets out?  About an hour early?  Are they late every morning too? I don't have a problem with a teacher having a part time job. I do have a problem with it on company time.

J_A_
J_A_

I don't see anything wrong with a PE teacher also being a bus driver. I seem to recall my math teacher also being the basketball coach in middle school. As long as it doesn't interfere with his teaching time who cares?!

mcdallas
mcdallas topcommenter

"We have to put our kids first"

bwahahahahaha

Joel Gajewski
Joel Gajewski

This: "It's about trying to be in two places at the same time. When students arrive at school, the teacher should already be there - not elsewhere, working a part-time job. Getting paid to be both behind the wheel and behind a desk at the same time is double-dipping, and it defrauds taxpayers."

Willie
Willie

"Teaching and teachers being in the building is our first order of business."

Of course, all those buses are being driven during school hours.

There is no doubt that Miles is a douche.

keithdylan
keithdylan

No wonder he's looking to hire an outside PR firm.  He needs a bit of help in the area of communication.  You couldn't give these people a little more notice?

MikeWestEast
MikeWestEast

I expect getting the vacancies known in time for the bus service to fill them prior to start of school also drove the timeline.  Almost every private employer has a rule on getting manager's permission before getting a second job.  Denial need not be explained and can be rescinded at anytime.

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

It's about trying to be in two places at the same time.

When students arrive at school, the teacher should already be there - not elsewhere, working a part-time job.

Getting paid to be both behind the wheel and behind a desk at the same time is double-dipping, and it defrauds taxpayers.

Marvin Remmers
Marvin Remmers

It sounds like he is trying to improve Dallas schools. Canning bad teachers sounds like a good thing to me. Rewarding good teachers with more money sounds good too.

Threeboys
Threeboys

I see numerous school busses with Durham School Services (or something close) all over Dallas.

Does the DISD farm out its school busses, operate its own fleet, including employing drivers, or both?

Gil R Glover
Gil R Glover

Ignoring all critics is the only way Miles will get anything done. DISD has a bleak future if someone isn't strong enough to get it on track soon.

jamessavik
jamessavik

Isn't that Fat Bastard from the Austin Powers movies???

ChangingF8
ChangingF8

Hates people who know more than him? Doubtful. This sounds like needed reform to me. If you are a teacher, you should be teaching. When I went to school, the only "teachers" that drove buses were the ones who were not really good teachers. You get out of any job what you put into it and the grades and ranking of Dallas schools shows that a lot of work is needed in the classroom, not making extra money driving a bus.

Flabbergasted
Flabbergasted

Look at the timing of this latest Miles action... just as school starts. He tried this last year, and punishes HONEST drivers because of one person who was committing fraud. He also knows these bus drivers are older, more experienced. A common target of his. He hates those who know more than him, which, to be honest, is almost everyone.

I guess the board should fire him, because he has a private company that he spends time on. How do we know when he is working for DISD or for Focal Point?

Marc C. Socolov
Marc C. Socolov

Cause, teachers don't make enough money, dont'ya know??!!

soonermaniac
soonermaniac

Don't you think he's just trying to get released at this point? If he quits he gives up his money. But if the board lets him go then they have to buy out his contract. This ban was put in place because one or two people took advantage of the system. If that's all it takes to ban something then Miles should already be back in Colorado with his family.

WylieH
WylieH

The reasoning for the ban seems logical to me... you shouldn't be driving a school bus for Dallas County Schools during the time you are supposed to be working for DISD.

As a side matter, I can find absolutely no rational reason that justifies the existence of Dallas County Schools as an independent government entity.

DCS' describes itself as "a county school district providing services to independent school districts throughout the State of Texas. DCS consists of a team of more than 2,000 professionals providing services for more than 425,000 students within Dallas County and exponentially more statewide."

Why in the world does Dallas County need to support a SEPARATE government agency to serve students STATEWIDE?  Dallas County borders don't even match up with those of the school districts.

titusgroan
titusgroan

Makes sense.  Nothing wrong with having a second job, but you can't double-dip, which is partly what's happening here.

juliebug1997
juliebug1997

@Joel Gajewski My DISD teachers who drove the bus had routes that had them arrive about 30 minutes before school started.  So, they were there at the same time as the other teachers.....

Willie
Willie

@MikeWestEast I call BS.  I've worked for several private companies and none of them said I had to get the ok from my boss (or whomever) if I wanted to get a second job.  Why should they care if one's work is acceptable?

Willie
Willie

@bvckvs You're full of it.  Since when are buses operating during school hours?

EdD.
EdD.

@bvckvs Do P.E. teachers spend a lot of time behind a desk? And nothing here prevents a teacher from working part-time elsewhere, just for the bus company, so it's not about time but about control

russp
russp

@Threeboys 

Most buses are provided by a company called Dallas County Schools that has nothing to do with Dallas County from what I can tell.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@Threeboys From what I can gather, DISD does not have its own fleet of busses.  Dallas County Schools runs the bus fleets in Dallas County.  Not sure if Durham operates for the county or not.  I know durham runs a lot of bus fleets in Cent. Texas.

yoka
yoka

@ChangingF8 Whether or not this is "needed reform", can we agree he imposed this edict in the tackiest way possible?  48 HOURS NOTICE?  It's obvious Miles sees teachers as nothing more than chattel.    

doublecheese
doublecheese

@WylieH Exponentially?  As in an exponent of 424,000?  That's a lot of kids.  I'd hope that an entity that had something (although who knows what) to do with schools would actually understand what that means.  

graham57
graham57

@titusgroan How is this "double dipping"? Unless the teachers are violating their employment contracts by taking a job driving school buses (in which case they should have been fired aeons ago), I fail to see where the double-dipping is. 


anon
anon

@Willie @MikeWestEast if you were working under any sort of contract, it included language that you had to notify your employer if you took on more work. as far as I know they can't keep you from taking the other job but they can just fire you for cause if there is a reason the two jobs are incompatible. 

DISDparent
DISDparent

@Willie @MikeWestEast It's been a requirement of any job I have ever had. I would have to clear any second job with my employer to ensure there is not a conflict with a customer or vendor of the firm. Whether people always follow or enforce those policies is another story.

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

@Willie @bvckvs 

As everyone who has anything to do with public education knows, that happens every single day that school is in session.

russp
russp

@Willie @bvckvs 

Oh I don't know, how about every time one drives up to a school that should already have a staff in place before kids are dropped off?

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

@EdD. @bvckvs 

Having a superintendent who is in control of the things he's paid to control is not a bad thing.

anon
anon

@EdD. @bvckvs if PE teachers don't have the same requirements of staying after school like classroom teachers, perhaps they should propose being paid less for the luxury.

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

@yoka @ChangingF8 

Just how much notice SHOULD the taxpayers give to people who defraud them?

ChangingF8
ChangingF8

@yoka @ChangingF8 I will agree that the timing and short timeline to decide may be a bit harsh, but I think it is an easy choice. You have a job making 50K or one making 20K....if you take the one making 20K perhaps you shouldn't be teaching? It says one of two things. A. You hate being a teacher and would rather make much less driving a bus. or B. You can't add up in your head which is more money. Either way...

observist
observist topcommenter

@doublecheese There's a chance the writer knew what she was talking about.  Exponents can be fractional, negative or 0.  For example, they if they helped 1 student outside of Dallas County, they helped 425,000^0  (to the 0 power) more students statewide.

MikeWestEast
MikeWestEast

@graham57 @titusgroan The strict definition of double dipping is getting two incomes from the same source.  Since DISD pays for the bus services, it is the source of both incomes.  Most if not all employers really discourage it because it complicates the employee's status and could cause some liability issues.  The standard method is to find an unrelated job that eliminates those problems. 

ChangingF8
ChangingF8

@yoka @bvckvs @ChangingF8 These teachers need to devote their time, all of their time, to coming up with better learning plans. Some way to improve the school and it's students. They need to devote themselves to becoming better at their craft. They can not do this if they are getting up early to drive a bus, teaching classes, and then driving the bus again. By the time they get home they are probably pretty worn out from all of that. Who has time to work on a learning plan after all that? The motivation is money, not education, here and if that is their priority they should have went into another field. 

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

@yoka @bvckvs @ChangingF8 

There's only one kind of fraud - intentional.  Teachers already know, and are reminded over and over, that they are supposed to be at their desks when the students arrive at school.

It's one of the things that the principals are supposed to ensure when they show up at work - so that they can call in a substitute for no-shows.

yoka
yoka

@bvckvs @yoka @ChangingF8 I don't think there's any intentional fraud going on.  I doubt these teachers who drive buses are snickering and saying, "Boy, I'm really pulling a fast one here!"

I also challenge the idea that a bus driving teacher, conveying students to or from school, is derelict in his/her duty if the students he/she teaches are in the process of being transported to or from.  They're not yet in the room to be instructed, or have already left! 

When I was in school I had a couple of teachers who also drove the bus, and i never saw it negatively impact their performance.  The greater point is how new supers sweep into town, overpaid tyrants with overpaid staff, who don't have the courage to challenge the goings-on at School Board Headquarters, and instead blame the smallest, most defenseless individuals, the noble men and women who dedicate their lives to educating and cultivating future citizens, and make them sole scapegoats for the morass of the DISD.   



anon
anon

@yoka @ChangingF8 firstly, this is not bullying. it is enforcing a policy. the new policy may be unpopular but it is idiotic and offensive to call it bullying. secondly, if the teachers are all driving the buses, who is at the school in the morning and afternoon when students arrive and leave? and if DISD didn't try to fix small problems just because there are bigger ones that still need solving, it would quite literally never accomplish anything. 

yoka
yoka

@ChangingF8 @yoka This still sounds like going after a gnat with a sledgehammer.  So now alllll the trouble within the DISD, allll the poor classroom instruction, boils down to thirty-odd teachers driving a school bus either before or after classes?  And how is there 'overlap', since the teachers can't be teaching kids in the classroom if those same kids are aboard a bus?  

This is just a pompous, bullying administrator going after the weakest target he can hit.   

Shaggy
Shaggy

@observist @doublecheese The same reason, one buys the skeeter spray, the other pays the douser to fly over and kill the birds and the bees. It's a team effort.

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