Communicating with parents: Monitor your child's bus route with a new software coming to MPS

MILWAUKEE -- Tracking your kids -- the Milwaukee Public School system is trying to give parents peace of mind while making transportation routes more efficient. The School Board just approved a measure to get software that allows you to monitor your child's bus route.

When the school day starts, some parents begin to worry about their little ones.

"Sometimes parents are not even able to make it to the stops and it's the older kids would have to walk home or walk them to the bus," said Tirrell Glosson, parent.

Keeping tabs on children will now be easier thanks to a new monitoring system approved by the Milwaukee School Board.

"We plan to use the opportunities not only through the phone but texts and email as well. It's going to be a multi-faceted way of communicating with parents," said Director of Business Services and Transportation, Mike Turza.

During a board meeting on Thursday night, May 28th, Mike Turza walked through the plan.

Currently, the 960 buses used by Milwaukee Public Schools are equipped with GPS systems. The district would now purchase mobile data terminals which will integrate the GPS systems with new software to provide real-time status of bus operations.

"They would be able to track any changes that are made if there is a change to their bus stop in the time that they would get that, and not have to wait or depend on the school. One of the features in the systems is it's going to be able to track actual ridership. If a student, because their parents drive them or something like that, aren't riding we can adjust the routes accordingly and consolidate routing and so things can measure the return on investment to be within a year," said Turza.

This technology is similar to the system the Racine Unified School District successfully implemented this year.

"I think that would be very efficient for me and make me feel more comfortable knowing that my kids are okay and that reliable and responsible thing for them to do that," said Quidir Black, parent.

The program will also monitor performance criteria to make everything is running according to MPS' contract.

The equipment will be installed and operational for the start of the 2015-2016 school year.