LHISD Transportation Department prepares for back to school

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Liberty Hill Independent School District Transportation Director Meleia Cox said the transportation department is gearing up for the upcoming school year, with refresher courses and the implementation of a new tracking system called SMART Tag.

“The new thing we are going to have for this year is called SMART Tag, and it is a device that’s on the buses that scan and read students’ ID cards as they enter or exit the bus,” Cox said.

Cox said SMART Tag was developed by a bus driver, and it will be a good way to track students.

The SMART Tag system ensures ridership and helps ensure the safety of students who use bus transportation to and from school. It makes it possible to monitor when and where students board or exit the bus. Using RFID technology, it helps to keep bus drivers and parents be more aware of the location of students in real-time.

“It will be a good way to track students, both for bus drivers, the school district and eventually parents,” Cox said. “Also, with the GPS on the buses, I can pull up all the school buses in the district and see where they are at, that way if a bus breaks down or something, we can see where they are located. It’s a really good tool for us to make sure things run smoothly and safely.”

Cox said there will be a parent portal set up in the future, so parents can view their child’s activity and whereabouts when utilizing bus transportation.

“Though the parent portal is not yet ready, if a parent is worried about their child not getting off of the bus or something, they can call our office and I can tell them whether or not the system shows that their child did either enter or exit the bus and where,” Cox said.

Previously enrolled students will be able to pick up their SMART Tag ID cards at Meet the Teacher events at the transportation table. If a campus does not have a Meet the Teacher event, students will need to pick up their cards at Panther Prowl at Liberty Hill High School.

“We will hand out the cards that we have, and others will be given out once students are enrolled,” Cox said. “It’s going to be a good, positive thing. I’m happy to have this new technology to ensure the safety of our students.”

Other than the new SMART Tag system, Cox said the LHISD Transportation Department has been going over bus routes, reevaluating new neighborhoods or subdivisions and mechanics have been doing preventative maintenance on all buses, including cleaning, and tire and oil changes.

Cox said bus drivers are also receiving training refreshers, and all bus drivers are CPR certified.

On Aug. 5, drivers will begin driving their routes to become familiar prior to the beginning of the school year. Then on Aug. 8, bus routes, stops and pick-up/drop-off times will be live on the district website for parents to view.

Cox said parents should make sure students arrive five minutes prior to their scheduled pick-up time. Parents should also be aware that bus routes may be delayed or run a bit later during the first week of school.

“We’re excited for the upcoming school year,” Cox said. “We have a good, professional group of drivers that we are lucky to have on staff.”

For more information on LHISD Transportation, call the office at 512-379-3250.

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