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GPS For Schools

by diane 2010-02-19 02:00

Almost half a million was spent in Clayton County to equip school buses and to install special GPS systems that keep track of the time employees spend in vehicles and their locations.

School officials said the purchase was made to meet re-accreditation requirements of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools after an internal audit found possible overtime overages in the transportation department. The units were purchased from Education Logistics System, Edulog, to increase accountability.

“What the system has done is allow us to greatly reduce the cost of operating our buses,” said Charles White, spokesman for Clayton Schools. “We have saved $1 million in fuel [costs] since we have instituted the system. We have also saved money in employee overtime.”

White said a little more than $361,200 was spent to install the EduTracker GPS system in 500 school buses and $41,000 was spent to install the unit in 80 maintenance vehicles.

Some teachers have expressed concern over the expenditure in a tight budget year. Clayton Schools faces a more than $30 million budget deficit that could lead to a reduction in staff in 2010-11.

The EduTracker unit, which is mounted in cellphones in buses, is not a typical GPS.

“It is not your traditional Garmin device; they are not seeing turn by turn directions,” said Jason Corbally, executive director of the Montana-based Edulog firm. “The school system will be able to see where all of the buses are if there is any type of emergency, like a child is missing. The GPS is able to tell what time a bus actually gets to a stop so [they] know if buses got there late or on time. It will increase the level of customer service.”

The unit also allows drivers to check into work and dial out when they leave without having to go to an office.

“Clayton County and other systems in the country had overages problems because driver payroll is one of the more difficult things to manage, especially when you have 500 people coming in at once,” Corbally said. “We are able to make sure you don’t have drivers that log in 45 minutes before their routes.”

Edulog has 1,200 routing and scheduling clients nationwide. Another 200 customers also have the GPS system, including Clayton, Henry and Richmond County school districts. Corbally said the firm was recently awarded a bid to install its system in Cobb County Schools’ vehicles.

Gwinnett Schools officials are also exploring the idea of purchasing GPS equipment.



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