PBC parents fed up with late buses want to track their child's bus; but district not ready

PBC evaluating security issues with tracking

Moms have been calling moms for minute by minute school bus updates.

"Have they gotten to you?" Julia Hanapole asked her friend?

Hanapole says her daughter got home an hour late three days in a row.

"This is outrageously annoying," explained Hanapole.

The school district never alerted her.

"Not a phone call. No notification," explained Hanapole.

Even though the district has GPS devices on all buses. The district paid $600+ per bus for the GPS.

"There should be a method to send us a text message," explained Hanapole.

Parents want that information in the palm of their hands.

"An app would be so easy," explained grandmother Anita Starkoff who was waiting for her grandkids.

But, the district doesn't have the software to make the GPS information available to parents yet.

So parents are coming up with their own solutions.

"If the bus driver has a smartphone and maybe just three minutes the problem would be solved," explained tech expert and dad Edward Hanapole.

Hanapole feels apps like Glympse can be used by bus drivers.

"I can zoom in and see where Charlie is and that's where I am," explained Ed pointing to a map.

It's currently used mostly to track friends, but parents feel it can give them a glimpse at how late their child will be.

"Compared to what exists today, which is no information and complete uncertainty I think within two weeks you would have a solution that is probably state of the art technology today," explained Ed.

Ed is even offering the district his expertise.

"I'd even be happy to put in some funding and development resources to do that and you could solve it across the entire community," Ed said.

The company who sold the district the GPS devices, Synovia Solutions, allows parents to log into a secure site to track their child's bus. It costs a dollar a bus per month.

But, the district said internal security concerns prevent them from using that program or any other one like the app this dad recommended.

Irv Slosberg, state representative and ranking member of the transportation committee, also met with the district about an app to solve the late and broken down bus problem. He met with the district after our story exposed that 70 percent of the districts buses broke down last year. He said the district hasn't responded to him despite emails and a voicemail following up on his June meeting with school officials.

The district says it's evaluating the security of its own system before it works with any of these outside vendors, but doesn't have a timeframe for when that will be completed.

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