Wireless downloads to be added
LAFAYETTE — The Lafayette Parish school system will install surveillance camera systems on 25 buses in the upcoming school year, which starts Aug. 10, as a way to enhance student safety, district officials said earlier this week.
The School Board approved the purchase and installation of 25 cameras at $63,562 from the company Angel Trax at its board meeting Wednesday.
Of the four bids received, Angel Trax’s was not the lowest but was the lowest that met the specifications for wireless capability and included cost of labor and installation, according to the bid tabulation submitted to the board.
While the school system has used cameras on buses previously, the older systems were inconvenient for review, said Bill Samec, district transportation director.
The new systems have wireless capabilities and the long-term plan is for school administrators to be able to wirelessly download video from the vehicles, he said.
“We’re going to pilot these in board-owned buses and if they work, then we’ll see how we’re going to go forward throughout the fleet,” Samec said.
The bus fleet includes 289 buses; about 100 of those are owned by contract drivers, Samec said.
The surveillance systems will replace about 30 bus attendants assigned to buses to monitor discipline issues, Samec said.
He said the cameras will not be used to replace bus attendants assigned to buses with special-needs riders or those with 10 or more pre-kindergarten riders.
The surveillance systems could produce “substantial savings,” Samec said, estimating the salary of a bus attendant is $15,000 annually.
“Our major concern is the safety and well-being of students,” he said.
The surveillance system includes a set of three cameras and a hard drive system that stores the captured video.
One camera is mounted to give a view of the driver. The other two offer views from the back to the front of the bus and from the front to the back of the bus.
“They’ll be able to monitor the driver and students,” Samec said.