Monday, January 20, 2020
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Sharyland-LogoBy April, the Sharyland school district will have installed two more cameras to each of their 73 school buses.

The additions, which means a total of five cameras per school bus, was discussed during a Tuesday meeting of the district’s Business, Operations, & Finance Committee Meeting.

In a presentation led by district Transportation Director Enrique Mata, Mata explained to members that three cameras were installed in each school bus in 2017.

“The purpose was to monitor student behavior and minimize student bullying,” Mata said. “Unfortunately, we’ve noticed a handful of blind spots have popped up.”

The cameras, which face the entrance of the school bus, the back of the bus and the front of the bus, does not capture the outside of the bus and several rows toward the back of the buses and middle of the buses, Mata explained.

The new cameras would be placed on the center of the bus to capture the blind spots inside the bus, and on the front of the bus, to capture everything the driver sees. The need for an outside camera was due to an accident involving a district school bus that rear ended a car near Bentsen Road and Frontage Road on the frontage of the expressway.

“A report hasn’t finished being filed but the bus driver said he felt as if the driver of the car he rear ended abruptly stopped the car,” Mata said. “Unfortunately, we don’t have footage that captures anything to confirm it.”

The additional cameras and installations would cost $49,945, whereas the original installation of the first three cameras were around $97,000 two years ago.

Even though this meets the below $50,000 criteria set up by the Texas Association of School Boards that states that any expense over $50,000 must be presented to the school board to be voted on, school board President Melissa Smith and Trustee Julio Cerda suggested the item be placed before the next school board meeting scheduled for Monday, Feb. 25.

“It’s just a formality since it’s a couple thousand dollars away from $50,000,” Cerda explained.
The money for new cameras will come from the transportation department’s budget, Mata said, adding that the cameras should be installed by April.