WCSD will adopt new safety precautions for district buses
The Wooster City School District will be acquiring a new system to enhance the safety of school transportation.
The new system, called Student Ridership, was created by Synovia Solutions, an Indianapolis-based technology company.
Elizabeth James, director of product strategy for Synovia Solutions, explained that the system involves the use of cards by students to swipe on and off the bus.
“This tells the district that the student has boarded or exited the right bus, at the right stop, at the right time. This helps prevent lost students,” James said.
Kurt Miller, Wooster City Schools transportation supervisor, wrote to The Wooster Blade, that the system satisfies, “The need to serve parents better and to be more accurate and accountable for the students’ safety while on the bus and during loading/unloading from the bus.”
This purchase comes on the heels of a September incident involving a student left unattended on a WCS bus after the completion of the bus’s route.
Miller commented that the system would combat that issue, and said that even one incident, like the recent one, was too many.
The transportation supervisor did not respond to inquiries concerning the cost to the district, but KXAN, an NBC affiliate, reported in the article, “SMCISD inks deal to track buses, students,” by Heather Jackson in February, that the system cost the San Marcos Independent School District (TX) $50,000 to outfit a fleet of 96 buses. In comparison, WSCD’s fleet numbers 32.
Janet Petrisin, the Director of Transportation for Wayne Township schools, outside Indianapolis, wrote in an email to THE BLADE that while her district had not implemented the swipe card system, the GPS system it purchased from Synovia was working well to answer parent questions.
Over 600 school districts across the United States were using the Synovia GPS tracking technology, though it is different than the Student Ridership program WCS will utilize, at the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year, according to Synovia’s James.
Miller wrote that the district contacted some of these districts before the decision but he did not name these districts.
Synovia also sells an app which parents can use to track their students’ buses, but the district will not be utilizing that service, according to Miller.
Miller said that implementation, “started with our drivers already and plan to start with students this spring for pre-kindergarten and up [through sixth] grade,” but did not give a specific date.