CCISD pays a lot of lip service when it comes to school safety, but the stark reality is that school bus safety is not a priority for the district nor the Board of Trustees, as evidenced by two key gaps: not enough storage for bus security camera footage – and no seat belts on the buses.
Two weeks of security footage saved
All CCISD school buses are equipped with security cameras. These are meant to capture driver and student misconduct. But here’s the catch: CCISD only has enough storage space to keep two weeks of footage.
So imagine this scenario: your child is being bullied on the bus, and the bus driver is ignoring it. You better haul yourself down to the Education Support Center on E. Main St. in League City right away, because that footage is going to be erased before you know it.
The footage is also critical when building a case against an incompetent bus driver – and there are plenty. There are drivers that snap at the children and say inappropriate things. There have been reports of one driver steering the bus onto a curb with children on it, and getting lost.
Now keep in mind that the 2017 CCISD Bond that was approved allocated $8,110,333 for “Security, Surveillance, Access Control and Intrusion Detection Equipment.” How much of that is going toward more video storage? Looks like zero from here.
Digging further into the Bond, here are a few interesting information technology allocations that somehow don’t include more storage for security footage from the buses:
- Server upgrades and replacements ($2,500,000)
- Network infrastructure ($10,600,000)
- Core network equipment ($1,781,000)
Corruption extends its tentacles to everywhere your children are – even on the transportation they take to and from school every day. CCISD excels at cover-ups.
Buckle up? Not on these buses
At the March 25, 2019 CCISD Board of Trustees meeting, Paul McLarty, Deputy Superintendent for Business and Support Services, presented the FY 2019-2020 budget. Of note is that seat belts, mandated by Senate Bill 693, are too expensive for CCISD to purchase. SB 693 became law in September 2017. This is the same CCISD that built that gigantic stadium on W NASA Blvd. It would cost approximately $140,000 extra when buying new buses, according to McLarty. But he recommended that the district NOT purchase buses with seat belts. The only way the district can legally avoid purchasing new buses with seatbelts is if the Board of Trustees determines the district can’t afford it.
Needless to say, the CCISD Board of Trustees voted to accept the recommendation – NO seatbelts on CCISD school buses. Trustee Arturo Sanchez was the one opposing vote. Note that even though Trustee Jennifer Broddle spoke up in favor of seat belts on buses, she voted to approve McLarty’s recommendation.
Of note is that in the 2017 CCISD Bond, $7,900,000 was approved to upgrade buses. Also of note is that our children’s safety is worth less than half of Dr. Greg Smith’s salary and benefits package to the CCISD Board of Trustees. Just a little something to keep in mind.