Benton School District Installs Parent Notifications on Busses

Benton (KATV)-The Benton School District is working on installing a parent notification system on school busses that will alert parents when their child has entered or exited the bus.

Using technology called Student Connect, busses will have RFID monitoring and GPS. The district is starting with 3 elementary school busses and will expand the program across the district. Only the bus administration will have access to the RFID data, which stops tracking the student once they have left the bus.

"When a student gets on the bus, they would have a card similar to this that they would swipe to get onto the bus. They would ride that route however long it maybe and when they get ready to get off the bus, they would then get off the bus the card would then swipe as they're getting off the bus," said Jeff Collum, Superintendent of the Benton Public School District.

A text message or email notification is then sent to the parent each time the child gets on or off the bus at school or at their destination.

Similar systems cost $15,000, with thousands of dollars in upkeep. But this new technology will not cost the district any money because of sponsors. The Arkansas Travelers baseball team is just one of the many sponsors signed on to support the program.

"The sponsorship monies [Student Connect] gets from the corporate sponsors pays for the text messages and the delivery systems themselves. That makes it possible to make it at no cost to the district," Collum said.