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Wichita School Buses May Soon Be Trackable By Parents Using An App

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Kco Bort
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Flickr, Creative Commons

School buses could soon be trackable by the phones of some Wichita parents.

Wichita’s school board recently approved a pilot program for the FirstView parent app. The pilot program won't be available yet for parents but instead tested by the district. The final version of the program would likely let parents use an app to track their children's bus. They would also see when the bus is expected to arrive, as well as set alerts.

The board unanimously approved the pilot during its meeting earlier last week.

"It's huge regarding safety," board member Julie Hedrick said before the vote.

Hedrick said the app could prevent kids from having to wait too early on cold street corners for a bus. It could also be used by parents worried where their children are.

"If a kid doesn't show up at home whenever a parent thinks that they should they can check their app to see whether the bus is late," Hedrick said.

The pilot begins this month for Robinson Middle School and Minneha Core Knowledge Magnet.

If the pilot goes well, the app could be offered across the district starting in September.

The pilot will be offered free of charge while the full program will have a one-time fee of $24,000 and cost an additional $1.50 per bus each school day.

Correction: The original version of this story said parents at the pilot schools would be able to use the app. The story has been updated to reflect that the program will be used internally by the schools to track buses. In the coming months, the district may decide to make the app available for parents. 

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Stephan Bisaha, based at KMUW in Wichita, is an education reporter for the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KMUW, Kansas Public Radio, KCUR and High Plains Public Radio covering health, education and politics. Follow him on Twitter @SteveBisaha. Kansas News Service stories and photos may be republished at no cost with proper attribution and a link back to the original post.

To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.