RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Richmond school board is set to discuss upgrading the district’s contract for busing logistics to improve timing and scheduling buses.
The school division’s current contract with Tyler Technologies, the company that handles school bus logistics, is set to expire in May. If the district upgrades it, students could see new technology on buses.
According to school board member Jonathan Young, students are experiencing longer wait times at bus stops and coming to class late, leaving parents concerned.
“There are a lot of variables, but part of it can be attributed to when bus drivers call out sick and part of it in regards to when we inverted the schedule to lead with elementary first thing in the morning,” Young said.
The school board will discuss upgrading the software buses use for routing, location sharing, speed checking and field trip requests.
If the contract gets upgraded, buses will have tablets and scan-card readers, allowing parents to be more connected with their children.
“It’s about accountability,” Young said. “This will allow us to know a person who’s supposed to get on a particular bus and when they got on that bus.”
When getting on and off a bus, students would scan their ID cards on the reader, notifying parents where they are through an app. Parents would also be able to see the estimated time of arrival for each bus.
“The phone calls our building leaders receive [sometimes] relate to transportation. ‘When is a particular bus going to arrive? Did my child get on that bus? Where is my child? Are they on a different bus?'” explains Young.
According to tonight’s school board agenda, the district currently pays $43,000 annually for Tyler Technologies software.
Depending on what the board decides, they could spend more than $100,000 annually to install the tablets and readers on the buses.
8News reached out to other school board members for comment on the contract upgrade but had not heard back at the time of this story’s publication.