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Cherry Creek School District debuts new technology for students on school buses

Students will now scan special cards on and off the school bus.
Cherry Creek Schools may change start times
Posted at 12:12 PM, Sep 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-06 14:12:26-04

DENVER — The Cherry Creek School District is rolling out a new program so parents can check to make sure their children made it to school safely.

As part of the new program, every single student in the district will be given a RFID card. That card will be scanned every single time students get on and off a school bus.

For second grader Eli Kim, this is an exciting time. He's been riding the school bus for a year now. The nerves his mom once felt standing at his bus stop waiting for him to get on and eventually get off are now mostly gone — the new card technology only helping rid her of that feeling more.

"I think that I'm really just thankful that the district values the safety of our students," Jeanne Kim said.

Cherry Creek School District debuts new technology for students on school buses

The Cherry Creek School District has already started giving RFID cards out to students.

"It's really about providing peace of mind to our parents that they know where their buses are, they know when their kid is on the bus and they know where the kid got off the bus," said Scott Smith, the chief financial and operating officer at the district.

Along with sending parents a notification straight to their phones when their students hops on and off the bus, the system also keeps track of the bus, not students. Bus drivers, like Angela McCalman, said they like it, too.

"I feel like it's 100% safe because we can turn the volume up on [the electronic monitor] and drive and don't even have to look at it,"McCalman said.

She no longer has to rely on a big red binder in every single school bus to tell her where students are and how to get to them.

"If I didn't know where I was going and I'd have to look at this red book, I'd be scrambling all over the place. I'd have to call dispatch and be like, 'Oh, can you get me to the stop?'" she said.

District officials said the system cost $700,000 in one-time set-up costs. It will cost the district about $400,000 a year to maintain.

For Kim, it's a cost well worth it for peace of mind.