published Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

Cleveland seeks upgrade of school bus video system

  • photo
    Ted Estrada, Cleveland City Schools current bus driver of the year, gets ready Tuesday for a field trip to the Museum Center at Five Points. City school buses have aging security cameras, school officials say, and they are seeking an upgrade.
    Staff Photo by Randall Higgins

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — City school system buses have aging security cameras on board and need an upgrade, school officials say.

This week, invitations will go out to bid on components for the upgrade. Vendors can get specifications at the system's central office.

"We have videocameras on the buses now, but the technology is getting a little old," Paul Ramsey, energy conservation manager with the school system, told the school board Monday. "We are having issues with some of it. ... So it definitely needs updating."

The board heard Sprint representatives Everly Galang and C. Scott Baker describe the next generation of school bus security. With a full system of surveillance, tracking and monitoring, the vehicle becomes a "smart bus," they said.

Ramsey said Tuesday the system is looking for a simpler — and less expensive — upgrade.

The purchase would come from money the system has on hand from a previous grant, he said.

Schools Director Rick Denning said local schools have not experienced the dangerous incidents reported nationally on some school buses, but the cameras can confirm incidents of bad behavior.

"Your kid cuts up and comes home and says he's innocent," Denning said. "We can show the video and the parent can see for themselves that the child was not an angel that day on the bus."

Richard Shaw asked fellow board members to consider upgraded camera systems in specifications for new buses in the future.

"Factory installed could be cheaper than retrofitting," Shaw said.

about Randall Higgins...

Randall Higgins covers news in Cleveland, Tenn., for the Times Free Press. He started work with the Chattanooga Times in 1977 and joined the staff of the Chattanooga Times Free Press when the Free Press and Times merged in 1999. Randall has covered Southeast Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and Alabama. He now covers Cleveland and Bradley County and the neighboring region. Randall is a Cleveland native. He has bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Technological University. His awards ...

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