Board talks school bus tracking system

By Matt Lasley mlasley@civitasmedia.com

April 18, 2014

Grayson County Schools may soon purchase a GPS system to track its school buses.

GC Schools Director of Transportation Arnold Hack discussed tracking software to be placed on the buses and its capabilities during the regularly scheduled Thursday, April 17 School Board meeting.

Hack said his main concern when he starts his work day each morning is he cannot follow every school bus driver’s route to observe how he or she drives, but if the school board approves the purchase of the tracking software, he’ll be able to do just that.

The system will allow the transportation department to observe the buses on a map and see every move the drivers make.

The system will show every stop a bus makes, every time it idles, whether there’s been an accident, and, for individuals who live far out in the county, will send phone notifications to alert when the bus will arrive, Hack said.

According to Hack, the company will guarantee service even in the furthest reaches of the county. The system can be used to track buses that take students on out of state trips, as well.

“It’s a plus plus for everybody,” Hack said.

The system will receive service from Verizon Wireless towers, and the company will commit to maintaining the system, according to GC Schools Superintendent Barry Anderson.

According to Hack, GC Schools will not be required to purchase equipment for the system but will pay a monthly fee for the service.

Anderson said GC Schools wants the GPS system, but the contract is currently in the negotiation phase.

GC Schools Attorney David Vickery said the school system has three issues with the current contract: If the service is assigned to someone else, GC Schools cannot cancel the contract; if the system isn’t properly maintained, the board wants this to be grounds for termination of the contract; and the school system is also unhappy with the contract’s renewal language.

Anderson said after the issues have been sorted out with the contract, it will be submitted to the school board for approval.

In other business:

*The school board awarded two $1,000 scholarships to Grayson County High School Seniors Dakota Decker and Sara Schacht for being the first members of their families to attend college.

*Fourth and Fifth Grade H.W. Wilkey Elementary students who received Proficient and/or Distinguished scores were recognized for their achievements.

In addition, Wilkey staff members, Melissa Humphrey, Sharon Drake, Kay McKinney, Lisa Oller, and Rachel Kiper were recognized for their support of and help with students’ academic accomplishments.

*The School Board passed a motion to approve the following:

The bids for the roofing project at Grayson County Middle School; a BG-1 Project Application Form for the GCMS partial re-roofing project, with a total project cost of $248,189; retaining the CPA firm of Buckles, Travis, VanMeter and Hart as the independent auditors for GC Schools for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2014; indirect cost rates for the 2015 school year; the purchase of Compass Fleet and Compass Field Trips software for $11,000; the application for a $19,800 Snapdragon Book Foundation grant for Wilkey; two 48-month lease agreements with Konica Minolta Business Solutions for copiers to be placed the the GC Technology Center; updates to Board Policy #09.2 Student Welfare and Wellness; five trip requests; the hiring of 200 emergency certified substitute teachers for the 2014-2015 school year; a request from Kiper for a leave of absence beginning March 31; and a request from Lawler Elementary School Teacher Molly Critchelow to extend her leave of absence through May 13.