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Dubuque Community School District tests new technology on school buses

DUBUQUE, Iowa (KWWL) — The district installed tablets on ten of their school buses this year.

The tablets are attached to the dashboard of the ten school buses within easy reach of the bus drivers. The students will either be manually checked onto the bus or they can scan a card as they get on and off the buses.

DCSD transportation manager, Ernie Bolibaugh says the tablets not only keep students safer by tracking who gets on and off the buses, but the scanning feature also makes bus routes more time-efficient.

“Say somebody isn’t on the bus that day or sick that morning we can push a message from our office, the dispatchers can push that to the routes and we can skip that route if we want,” Bolibaugh explains. “Afternoons, if they don’t scan on the bus then it skips their stop in the afternoon going home.”

He says knowing who is and is not on the bus will keep students safer and keep parents more informed of what is going on.

“We’ll know exactly who’s on. If there’s an accident or some reason we need to contact all the families we know exactly who to call at that point.”

The tablets are also linked to a cellphone app parents of the students can download. On the app they can track their child’s bus routes and check to make sure their child got on and off the bus. You can find the “Versatrans My Stop” app by Tyler Technologies on the Apple app store or Google play.

Right now the district is only testing the scan cards with fifth graders at Sageville elementary school. Bolibaugh says they want to see how the fifth graders handle them before issuing cards to every student in the district.

The tablets and software costs the district about $2,300 to install them on each bus. This would come out to a cost of about $200,000 to outfit every school bus with the tablets.

Cori Hanna

Today in Iowa reporter

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