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Fort Bend ISD's $1M Bus Program Lets Parents Track Students

Fort Bend Independent School District in Texas is installing tablets next to school-bus doors which students will use to scan their ID cards as they get on and off, allowing staff and parents to know where they are.

School bus
(TNS) — A $1 million system that will allow Fort Bend ISD officials and parents to track students when they enter and leave school buses is expected to be in effect by next spring, according to a district official.

Through the system, which will be funded as part of a $1.2 billion bond package approved by district voters on May 6, ridership program tablets will be installed on all Fort Bend ISD buses, said Mike Jones, the district's executive director of transportation.

Students will scan their ID cards on a tablet near the bus door when they get on and off, Jones said. That will inform school authorities and parents in real time when and where a student enters or leaves.

"We also require that that students in grade 2 or younger must have a guardian or parents there to meet them," said Jones. "So, if a student goes to scan who's in grade 2 or below, it will alert the driver that the child needs a parent or guardian present."

The tablets will not remain on the buses overnight. Drivers will remove and keep them until they are used again.

The ridership tablet system will be part of $15.9 million Fort Bend ISD has allocated for transportation upgrades including purchase of new buses and installation of cameras and global positioning systems on all buses.

"We're getting ready to send out a short survey to parents to get their feedback on what security features are most important to them," said Jones. "Once the evaluation is complete, we'll start the process of choosing the vendor, ordering and installing the equipment, teaching the drivers and campus staff how to use it. Campus staff will also have access to information on ridership and buses."

FBISD operates a fleet of roughly 450 school buses and plans to acquire an additional 35.

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