School District of Palm Beach County to consider whether to use GPS devices to track school buses

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The School District of Palm Beach County is expected to decide on Wednesday whether to spend $500,000 to install GPS tracking devices on nearly half of its buses.

The decision is set against state cuts to education and questions from parents as to whether the money should be invested in the classroom.

Some parents pointed to Broward County as a cautionary tale.

In 2007, the school district spent nearly $1 million to install GPS tracking devices on its fleet of buses.

The district, however, learned it couldn't afford to upgrade the software.

St. Lucie County has used GPS tracking devices on its school buses since 2006 and said it had seen a return on the investment.

"The addition of GPS has allowed the St. Lucie transportation department to review maps and routes and coincide the planned routes to the  actual usage," a district spokesperson said. "This both saves time and provides parents and students a better expectation on bus arrival and pickup times."

The district said the technology allowed it to improve its ability to monitor and train staff on safety and security and determine where buses were.

The School District of Palm Beach County was expected to consider the proposal at 5 p.m. on Wednesday.

If it moves forward, it would decide in 2014 if it would spend another $500,000 to install the tracking devices in the rest of its fleet.

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