BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – A new system for the Fort Madison Community School District’s transportation department is getting good marks from the Superintendent.
The new system called “Here Comes the Bus” was implemented this school year to help district transportation director Richard Hand more efficiently not only monitor bus locations and service, but also children getting on and off the buses.
Students in the Fort Madison Community School District were given badges that are scanned when the students get on and off the bus. That information is logged into a system the district currently leases from Synovia Solutions that keeps track of students whereabouts.
If a student is on the wrong bus, the scanner will indicate red and if the student is on the right bus it lights up green. The Here Comes the Bus app that accompanies the software also let’s people know the proximity of the bus to their door stop or drop off location.
Several parents contacted the Pen City Current indicating that students from Holy Trinity that ride Fort Madison buses have not been given the passes that the public school students have.
“The district has had a positive implementation of the new bus system,” Slater said via text on Wednesday.
“HTC students are not in our electronic student management system which generates the information to be printed on the passes. They have to be hand entered and with the implementation of the new system, it just takes time.”
Slater said all eligible students regardless of passes are able to ride the bus and the time refers to the process for the district to build a separate database for the HTC students so passes can be created for them because those students are not currently in the district’s power school system.
Radio traffic from the school’s communication indicated that there were just a few bugs in the rollout such as the system indicating an engine light malfunction and several computer log issues.
The app is a free download on cellphones or computers and residents will have to have a district code and password given out by the district to access information. Hand said that’s a security measure to keep those outside the district from knowing where buses are specifically.
Hand told the board in June that messages can also be sent out if a bus breaks down letting families know the bus will be arriving later. Additionally, the system comes with dashboard mounted tablet scanners on each bus.