New Program Improves Safety, Transportation

As good stewards of taxpayer money, we continually research efficiencies and ways to improve. Paramount to everything, we are committed to the safety of our students. As such, we have identified a solution that is one of the most technologically advanced and comprehensive systems available today that will help in both efficiencies and safety.

Starting next school year, we will implement the Secured Mobility Authorized Ridership Technology (SMART) tag program that will streamline services including transportation, elementary campus dismissal and improve student safety.

SMART tag provides a module in which parents can monitor the location of their child's bus securely. The system can even notify parents when the bus is 10-15 minutes from arriving at their child's bus stop in the morning and afternoon. The Transportation Department will be able to verify accurate ridership, ensure students only board their designated bus and exit their designated stop and the driver will have access to medical emergency information for students on the bus.

The SMART tag system utilizes Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology that connects with cloud-connected tablet computers on each bus. The technology is passive, meaning that the ID card does not have a continuous signal so students will not be tracked when they are not on the bus. The ID cards only power up to talk to the SMART tag Driver Tablet when the student is on the bus. Also, only the student's name and associated bar code will be printed on the ID badge; no information is stored on the badge.

Additionally, SMART tag has developed a Campus Dismissal Module. This module connects parents and campuses by leveraging SMART Tag's communication platform. Parents will be able to coordinate elementary campus dismissal preferences electronically, utilizing web-based technology (desktop or mobile) for changes in dismissal plans. Eanes Elementary piloted a school dismissal manager system the past few years that worked well; using SMART tag, the District will expand the pilot with small groups at select schools in April, and if successful, plans to expand to all elementary schools next school year.

With SMART tag's technology, we are also investigating connecting the RFID cards to meal payments and checking out library books. Look for more information on this exciting program before the start of school next year.

See the April 4, 2017 SMART tag presentation to the Board online.