SAISD to use technology to help students, parents avoid school bus confusion

SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio Independent School District parents will now have a better and faster way to track their students who ride the school bus.

In August, the district will launch the Zonar Z-Pass System for students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. The system is part of the school bus stop-arm cameras, which also provide Wi-Fi to students on the bus.

Cesar Flores, transportation director for SAISD, said students simply swipe a badge when they’re on the bus. 

“It will send a push text notice to any parent that uses this app to see when their students gets on the bus and when they get off and where exactly they're getting on and off,” he explained.

The new system will cut down the on the number of children who get off the wrong bus stop or calls from parents who are wondering if their children ever made it to the bus, Flores said. 

“We'll get parents that may not be able to be there because they have to go to work and they may not be able to stand at the stop with their kid,” he said. “They'll call to ask if such and such student goes on the bus that day, and so we will contact the bus driver and find out that information, but it’s a bit of a lengthy process right now.”

The new system will give them computer access to the student’s transportation information right away, Flores said.

A pilot program was launched in the spring with about 100 kids in the Head Start Program. So far, Flores said, things have worked the way they should. 

Currently, bus drivers have to manually take attendance of the children who ride the bus. That will continue, but the system is a second assurance that the records are accurate.

In the following years, more grade levels will be added to the system until eventually all students in the district who ride the bus have a badge.

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