CLEVELAND, Tenn.-When school begins in August, Cleveland City Schools' buses will be on the streets with new camera systems and a new safety campaign.
The security cameras keep tabs on what's going on in the buses and download the information to a new software system. If the need arises, video can be emailed to a school principal to resolve any disputes.
The system also can monitor bus speeds and locations.
"I think the school system will be well pleased," Valerie Mack, transportation supervisor, said Friday morning as the cameras were being installed.
The cameras and GPS system can be used not only for security but for planning efficient routes, said Bob True, maintenance and transportation superintendent.
In February, the city school board decided to replace the bus fleet's aging security camera system.
"Our motto is 'Take Pride In Our Ride,'" Mack said. "It starts with the buses."
The "Take Pride In Our Ride" program will include safety information brochures for parents and students, student artwork and more in-service training for drivers.
"We want the community to be aware of what we are trying to do," True said.
In-service training ranges from new emission standards to a driver rodeo. Drivers will be using their bus mirror systems to navigate through traffic cones and try to avoid knocking a golf ball off the top of a cone.
True said the city school bus system gets six new buses this year that can be in service for 17 years or 200,000 miles, according to Tennessee Department of Safety rules.
Along with an annual safety inspection by the safety department, True's crews do their own inspections every 5,000 miles.
"We want the buses to be as safe as possible," he said.