Knox County schools rolls out program allowing parents to track

Knox County schools rolls out program allowing parents to track school buses

Posted:
Some Knox County parents can now track their child’s bus in real time. It’s a new pilot program rolled out in three schools this week. Some Knox County parents can now track their child’s bus in real time. It’s a new pilot program rolled out in three schools this week.
As your child hops on the bus after school and begins their route home you as a parent can track them from your computer using your students’ unique ID number. As your child hops on the bus after school and begins their route home you as a parent can track them from your computer using your students’ unique ID number.
Knox County schools is one of the first districts in the country to try out the software. It was part of the last five year strategic plan. Knox County schools is one of the first districts in the country to try out the software. It was part of the last five year strategic plan.
By ALEXIS ZOTOS
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Some Knox County parents can now track their child’s bus in real time. It’s a new pilot program rolled out in three schools this week.

Letters went out Monday to parents at Blue Grass Elementary, West Valley Middle School and Bearden High School informing parents of a new website that will allow them to follow the bus along its route.

Knox County schools operates more than 300 buses, many of them running during peak traffic hours.

“It’s very difficult to predict the traffic patterns and for all of [the buses] to be on time at any given moment is not really going to happen,” explained Knox County Schools Transportation Director Rick Grubb.

Here’s how it works. As your child hops on the bus after school and begins their route home you as a parent can track them from your computer using your students’ unique ID number.

“As it changes its positions the bus will move along the path the bus travels,” explained Grubb.

Knox County schools is one of the first districts in the country to try out the software. It was part of the last five year strategic plan.

For parents like Sandra Schade it's a great idea.

“It would be nice because one time when he was in fourth or fifth grade the bus broke down and I know my husband was worried about where he was,” said the mother of a seventh grader at Cedar Bluff Middle School.

For now the system won't tell you why the bus is running behind but in the future the system could also be used to show parents when a bus came and went, something that would be helpful for the bus contractor.

“Because Junior was running late and he didn’t get to the bus stop, he’ll come back, and general answer is the bus didn’t run, the reality is the bus did run and it did show up at a certain time, so it just verifies and keeps everyone honest,” explained Bill Gentry, a bus contractor for the district.

The school system will continue to notify parents through text and calls about any significant delays or changes. But this gives parents a greater sense of relief.

“It would ease both our minds,” said Schade.

We wanted to know who can see this information, the school system says only a parent armed with their student’s specific ID code will be able to pull it up.

The school system plans to launch the program across the district by the start of next school year.

Grubb says there will no extra cost for Knox County. The GPS devices were installed in all of the buses several years ago and the software is included in the school’s transportation package.

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