Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Tag Them..Track Them
I always say when money is short; people will find a way around the problem. In this case, the San Antonio North Independent School District is putting technology to use to corral the attendance money from the state. They're implementing a pilot program that tracks students, using transmitters inside identification cards (RFID).
Next year, and John Jay High School and Anson Jones Middle School will track their 6,290 students who use the district buses according to the San Antonio Express-News. If successful, the district wants to use the ID cards at all 111 schools and almost 100,000 students. There must be some big bucks to gain because the district plans to spend $525,065 on the pilot program and about $136,005 to run it.
According to North Side Independent School District Deputy Superintendent, Brian Woods, the ID cards would keep more accurate figures and recoup the dollars lost when a student is reported absent but may be in the nurse's office or elsewhere on campus.
Mr. Woods said if the program is implemented, the district will see an increase in 0.5% in attendance levels along with Medicaid reimbursement for special needs students who ride district buses and would net the district $2 million to 2.5 million each year in funding.
You can't have a system like that without the naysayers worrying about privacy matters but the system already contains pertinent information like social security numbers and grades. All the data is maintained on the school's server and is password protected.
There are legitimate worries about the misuse of the technology but Mr. Woods said the program would have only limited potential use for disciplinary purposes. The program does have the capabilities of tracking special needs students on district buses.
RFID in schools is not new to Texas. The Spring and Santa Fe School District have been using the technology since 2010.
The Northside Independent School District school board unanimously approved the pilot program last week.
I hate to be a wet blanket but the wealthier school districts can afford the equipment and software to recoup lost state funds but there is not a chance the poorer school districts will improve their status.
How about it; is this something you would recommend to our school board?I know, we don't have that many students and the first year year outlay of $761,070 would bring out several anxiety attacks just thinking about that much money.