Pennsylvania’s Gateway School District has gone back on its initial plans to use ID card readers and tablets to help track students on buses. The project was set to go live when classes resumed this coming August, but now looks to be on hold.
Per a report from Trib Live, the initial plan was for students to scan their IDs via a card reader as they both boarded and departed the district’s school buses. The system, which cost the school district more than $100,000, was already purchased roughly a year ago from Missoula, Montana-based Education Logistics, or Edulog. The investment also included a GPS system that enables school officials and parents to track the buses’ progress.
The school district’s superintendent now says that glitches in the tablet readers issued to drivers, along with a software app that would have enabled parents to track the buses, prompted district officials to put the plans on hold and abandon the reading of ID cards during the 2015-16 school year.
As part of the package purchased by the school district, each school bus was fitted with a black box connected to the GPS device that transmits the vehicle’s location to a central server that school officials can access.
District officials say that they will continue to use the GPS devices installed on the buses, while Edulog will reimburse the district $74,000 for the unused ID scanning features. The critical feature that is lost without card readers, of course, is the ability to track which students were on each bus.
Per the report, district officials tested the tablet readers this past spring on a number of buses carrying high-school students. Officials also say that the parent facing app, which would have cost parents up to $5 a month, was not ready.