64° F Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Lake Travis school board is considering installing a security system on the district’s 72 school buses that would have the ability to issue traffic citations to drivers who don’t stop when children are leaving the bus. The system would also monitor questionable activity inside the bus.

Representatives from Force Multiplier Solutions recently made a presentation to the school board on BusGuard, a system designed to give school districts greater control of what happens inside and around its school buses.

Johnny Hill, Lake Travis assistant superintendent for business financial and auxiliary services, said a demonstration of the security system installed on one of the district’s buses indicated a need for it.

“One route alone had 17 violations,” Hill said. “And last year, we had a child that was struck getting out of the bus.”

The system includes seven cameras on the exterior bus that cover eight lanes of traffic and three interior cameras complete with enough memory for 22 days of footage. The system also includes a two-way PA system, real-time GPS tracking and a silent alarm for contacting local authorities.

The system is of no cost to the district, Force Multiplier Solutions marketing director Slater Swartwood explained, because his company draws 75 percent of the profits from citations issued. The other 25 percent goes to local municipalities and the school district. After three or four years, Swartwood said, the profits switch to a 50-50 split.

“I would think it’s a great idea if we [weren’t making] a dime,” Superintendent Brad Lancaster said, recalling his own bus driving experience. “As a driver, it’s obvious they take a personal interest in students, even if we make no money.”

The board agreed to revisit the matter for action in May after consulting with local municipalities.

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