GPS And ID Card Tracks When Your Kid Gets On And Off Schoolbus

Before the kid gets on the bus, he has to swipe his electronic ID card. When he gets off, swipe again. The $16,000 kid-tracking system rolled out in a southwest Illinois suburban school district this week lets the school know where every bus and child is at all times. Parents and school administrators say it’s a welcome relief, but is it too Orwellian?

A beep, a flash and one less worry for parents [Chicago Tribune via Babble]

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  1. ShruggingGalt says:

    As long as the police put this on any kid they pull off a school bus because a judge decided to believe a Mexican court document claiming that a Mexican court gave custody to the non-custodial parent, sure.

    /real document was an arrest warrant for non-custodial parent
    //lawyers for non-custodial parents found to have no culpability in presenting a false doc to the judge
    ///judge had no culpability for believing a document in Spanish as he relied on the non-custodial parent’s statement

    • pop top says:

      What the hell does this post even mean?

      • ShruggingGalt says:

        There was a kid hauled off a school bus by the police…while his mom watched.

        They had a court order to give the kid to his dad…and told the mom she could talk to the judge on Monday. (It was a Friday I believe)

        Needless to say the kid and his father haven’t been seen since.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          Why didn’t you say THAT in the first place instead of posting a jumble of words?

          • Chaosium says:

            Because he’s going Galt over THOSE MEXICANS.

            Seriously, there are plenty of injustices in the country, he just focuses on the ones he’s predisposed to hate.

            • ShruggingGalt says:

              Actually I feel bad for his mom. Who is also of Hispanic origin. And actually his dad is French-Mexican.

              The post was about cops taking a kid off a school bus because the United States will follow another country’s lawful custody order (Elian Gonzales); but in this case our own legal system didn’t even want to verify what a document actually says in a foreign language!

            • ShruggingGalt says:

              And….

              If he had been chipped maybe they would have caught him. As it was, his dad mailed the kid’s cell phone back to his mom.

            • bsh0544 says:

              How does his post contain an anti-Mexican sentiment? It’s poorly directed anger, sure, but anti-Mexican? I don’t see it.

      • Chaosium says:

        “What the hell does this post even mean?”

        Xenophobic trash, really.

    • dangerp says:

      -1 off-topic rant.

    • humphrmi says:

      I know I’ve seen all these words before, just not in this particular order.

  2. apd09 says:

    no this is not too Orwellian, too Orwellian would be for the school to make it mandatory for the children to have cell phones with the GPS tracker activated in it so they would be able to track the location of every single student.

    Although, I have no problem with them doing that for high school students so they can easily track down those who skip class or leave school grounds during the day. It should be the concession made for kids bringing cell phones to school. if you are going to bring it, you have to have it GPS enabled and tracked by the school while on their property and in their care during school hours. The same old rules would still apply in terms of not be able to to use it during class and what ever other rules they have.

    • aaron8301 says:

      I might subscribe to your point of view IF the school provided said cell phone. The school can bar the kids from using the phone during school, but other than that, the parents pay for the phone, the parents get to choose what happens with the phone.

      Schools need to remember they are the school, not the parents, and they are funded by the parents.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      The article profiled some families with pretty young kids, like around 7 to 10. Preventing truancy with high school students, I get, but these are really young kids.

      • Doubts42 says:

        This isn’t to prevent truancy, thought that will likely be a a side effect. the purpose is to make sure the kids get on and off the bus safely. provides a very nice layer of security for the school and the bus driver.
        “i am sorry that little Johnny is missing, but My card scanner shows i dropped him off at the front door of the school with all the other kids.”

    • Southern says:

      Although, I have no problem with them doing that for high school students so they can easily track down those who skip class or leave school grounds during the day

      Really? Why not just advocate that all children under 18 should wear ankle monitors with built in GPS.. After all, if everything is for the “safety of our children”, then we should be able to monitor their whereabouts 24 hours a day, yes?

    • Wombatish says:

      It’s… approaching too Orwellian, but before we even address that:

      It’s too god-damn expensive.

      This will be paid for by a bond or a hike in property taxes, for something that can be replaced with head counts.

      Yeah, head counts and bus drivers who actually give a shit/aren’t CDL drivers who lost their licence (more common than you’d hope/think). Yes not every bus driver is bad, yadda yadda, but if you’re really worried about losing the kids on the bus (or even the bus itself!) are they really that good?

      Seriously, hiring some decent staff, especially in this economy with everyone and their mother overqualified for the jobs they’re desperately looking for, has got to be a cheaper, more efficient, and less morally questionable.

  3. rpm773 says:

    As I’ve debated at length with my 4-month old (concerning the use of the baby monitor), the Orwellian is drawn between childhood and adulthood.

    • rpm773 says:

      er, the Orwellian line is drawn….

    • Woofer says:

      Your baby is a genius. I couldn’t get my niece to do much more than poop, eat, and sleep at four months.

    • Liam Kinkaid says:

      I’m sure those debates are very lively.

      • rpm773 says:

        She’s tough. She reduced me to swearing and tears once, but I retooled and came back the next night with a stronger argument.

    • Lollerface says:

      Exactly, for my kids I think this is a great idea. But it would end when they’re out of school. Monitoring free adults is where things get Orwellian, but minors are not free adults, they’re under the supervision of their guardians.

    • Conformist138 says:

      Haha, a much more entertaining way to say what I was thinking. Children are not the same as adults. Tracking me when I hop on public transit to know where I am would be odd to say the least, but schools keeping track of students on the bus is a good idea.

      more than once, children have vanished and there ended up being debate about where they disappeared cuz witnesses are so unreliable (i have to greet people in an office building every morning and i greet some multiple times a day cuz i can’t always remember if i already saw them that morning or if i’m just remembering every other day i’ve seen them. the joke is that every time i see someone, it’s the first time)

  4. Jason says:

    Not too Orwellian. I track my two minor daughters via cell phone gps. I like knowing they made it home and to school safely. Recently had a child my daughters age abducted and raped 2 cities over.

    • pantheonoutcast says:

      “Recently had a child my daughters age abducted and raped 2 cities over.”

      I recently had some new kitchen cabinets installed, but hey, who am I to say what you should do with your tax refund?

    • evnmorlo says:

      Any abductor will toss the phone. But for a limited time you can buy a GPS brain implant for only $250000! Any hesitation shows that you don’t love your children.

  5. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    I get that it’s not always possible to walk to the bus stop with your kid, but I think this is extreme helicopter parenting. You can track your kid on the bus, but you still can’t track where your kid goes after getting off if he or she is intent on skipping school. I bet these parents are the types to make their kid send an email, text, make a phone call, build a smoke signal if he or she wants to do something else besides go home after school.

    • pop top says:

      I think this is intended to prevent those stories we hear about kids getting left on the bus for several hours or kids that get abducted before/after school. At least it can help set up a time line in those extreme cases.

    • mythago says:

      There are plenty of ways for a determined kid to screw with the system, but this has a lot more to do with kids who are disabled or too young to sensibly deal with things like “bus driver was drunk and forgot there was another kid on the bus”.

    • AllanG54 says:

      I’ll bet you don’t have kids for if you did, and they didn’t come home from school at their normal time, you’d certainly want a call or text knowing where they were and what time they’d be home. One day if and when you’re a parent you’ll agree.

    • legolex says:

      I think it’s a good idea because should a kid go missing or not come home at a regular time, the first thing that will be checked will be those bus records and seeing that the child got off the bus would give searchers a starting point.

  6. Stickdude says:

    “Casey researched the technology last year after a 1st-grade student missed his stop,”

    So one student out of the thousands that ride the buses every day misses his stop one time and the solution is an expensive tracking system that wouldn’t have prevented the problem in the first place (as kids can still miss their stop even if they’ve checked in).

    Sounds like a winner.

  7. Julia789 says:

    With the bus drivers around here? It’s the only way I’d let my kid on the bus. I’ve been driving him for 4 years. One of our bus drivers was just arrested for driving while high and carrying illegal weapons. Instead of firing him, the bus company planned to transfer him to another town until parents found out and caused an uproar. There have been kids left on the bus accidentally in hot weather, and one bus driver lured an elementary school boy to his home to molest him instead of dropping him at his own stop. Yes, I’d love for the schools to be able to see where kids are with those crazy and mentally ill people driving them around. I realize there are many good bus drivers, but there are enough bad ones here that I feel better driving my kid.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Bad people will find ways to do harm no matter what. If a bus driver was so inclined to kidnap a child, all he or she would have had to do is take the child’s card, swipe it, and not let the child off the bus.

  8. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    Was this a problem so bad that it was worth the $16K?

    Today’s parents, torn between wanting to give their kids more independence while also keeping them from harm, can now send them off knowing they can call the school to make sure their child arrived or to check if the child is late returning from school.

    Can’t they do that anyway? This makes it easier for the school to look up I guess but it’s not like they couldn’t call the school before.

    I don’t know, I always went to the bus stop sans-parents growing up so tracking the kids but only tracking whether or not they’re on the bus seems a strange mix of being overkill and being pointless.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      For that matter, if abduction is the fear, couldn’t kids be abducted on their way to the bus stop? If parents were dropping their kids off at the stop and watching them get on the bus, these cards would be pointless – so presumably, parents aren’t accompanying their kids, and are sending their kids out into the wild, untamed, dangerous world to walk to the bus stop – but whew, good thing we know they’re on the bus!

      • Conformist138 says:

        It does seem silly, however i’ll point out that sometimes kids vanish to and from school and the question is always where they were- witnesses used to seeing tons of the same kids every day (most of them the kids themselves) are too unreliable and even determining if a child made it to a bus can be difficult. i admit, it’s a long way to go for such an unlikely event, but i bet if a kid were recovered before the worst happened because they didn’t have to waste time trying to find out if johnny made it to his bus stop, those parents would say $16k is not too much. again, probably too statistically unlikely, but not completely without possible use.

  9. Dover says:

    There’s also this story about outfitting preschoolers with RFIDs: http://www.ktvu.com/news/24667895/detail.html

    • PTB315 says:

      RFID makes far more sense to me if the cost isn’t too much higher than ProxCards or swipe cards. Instead of going thru the motion of swiping cards, or waving ProxFobs, which is a pain to enforce, just give the kids something that will automatically register them when they are on the bus. Short range RFID tags, maybe in their wallets or bookbags or a bracelet/ necklace, should be able to register who is on the bus and when they got on & off without the kids having to do anything.

  10. BDSanta2001 says:

    Every month there is a story about a bus driver dropping a kid off at the wrong stop. (Usually a substitute driver or the first day of a new route for a new driver) Parents outraged because they don’t know where their child is for hours and the school district is bewildered.

    Would also be good in tracking kids who all get off at an earlier stop to watch fights. (Come on, y’all remember junior high)

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      If a kid can’t remember his stop, and can’t find his way home (meaning he got off at a stop WAY before or after his own) the kid is an idiot, and he deserves it. (Unless he’s really really young and doesn’t know better, but srsly? This is how you LEARN)

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        Hell, I’m an adult and sometimes I get on the wrong train because reading instead and haven’t been paying attention and I think the next train is mine. I shrug it off and make sure to pay more attention next time. Kids need to learn these lessons.

    • dru_zod says:

      When I was in kindergarten roughly 20 years ago, I was very, very shy and when the bus driver forgot to stop at my house, I never said anything. She finally realized I was still there when everyone else but me had gotten off the bus and there were no more stops. This was about an hour after she usually came to my stop. My mom called the school trying to figure out where I was, and yeah, she was worried, but it wasn’t a big deal. She didn’t go crazy on the school or bus driver for forgetting me. The school contacted the driver by radio (yep, radio, not cell phone) she told them where I was, and she dropped me off at my house on the way back to the school, no harm done. I got a nice long bus ride and I learned that if she ever passes my stop again, I need to yell at her to stop before she goes too far past it. She did forget me a couple more times, but I had learned my lesson and she never got more than one house away before she stopped and let me off.

      Problems with kids being let off at the wrong stop or left on the bus or whatever can be easily solved by just making sure that kids know where they are supposed to get off the bus, and teaching them to speak up if they are ever left in the back seat when everyone else has gotten off. I was a really shy kid, but after I was forgotten once, I never let it happen again.

  11. Bremma says:

    I don’t see an issue, especally for districts where kids have to take really long (1-2 hour) trips on the bus so if something were to happen, the parents could find where their kids were.

    I had a 1.5-2 hour bus ride home from high school, and once we were stuck pulled over for about 20 minutes due to a sudden super cell thunderstorm that developing and hitting us while we were on a small back road. I’m sure my parents would have felt better knowing about where I was during that storm.

    • Nighthawke says:

      Being stuck in a school bus while a tornado threatens to roll or toss it about, turning the occupants inside into bloody dice really assures me about the procedures regarding dealing with severe weather. The best procedure dealing with severe storms while in a vehicle, is to get out, lay down in the lowest point on the ground and hang on. Do NOT stop at an under/overpass for the winds will funnel through it, turning it into a venturi gap. Meaning that if the winds are running 25MPH outside the overpass, they may easily double or triple the speed depending on how wide or narrow the gap is. Also keep in mind that the majority of such construction is not bolted down, it’s just sitting on top of the piers. If a high enough wind gets funneled through, it might just unseat the roadbed and put it down in a ugly way.

      Meaning you get that bus to a ditch, get the kids in it and start praying.
      The odds are good you might have muddy survivors of a nasty piece of work.

      You can’t out run a tornado in any form of ground transportation.

  12. Genesee says:

    Just another case of people assuming technology somehow makes them safer. Kids who want to ditch school will simply give their card to another kid to swipe. Is a busy schoolbus driver going to match every ID card to every student every day? No. Parents won’t know that their kids got on the bus or arrived at school…they’ll know their kids ID cards have.

    • Clyde Barrow says:

      Assume? It’s fairly easy to assume that technology DOES make us safer. It’s hardly a question “if” it will these days.

  13. coren says:

    Elementary school age kids lose things, and they’re things much bigger and more frequently used than a card.

    What happens if Billy and Susie trade cards?

    This doesn’t strike me as the best laid plan, neither of mice nor men

  14. MustardTiger says:

    Get right on the bus and off to the Junior Spies.

  15. kt says:

    No it might stop the stories you hear every year of kids being left on the bus after it’s parked or dropped off at the wrong stops.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      I don’t know about you, but when I rode the bus I was never “dropped off”. The bus driver stopped, sure but *I* was the one who had to get my ass up and get off the bus.

      If a kid can’t remember where his stop is repeatedly, the kid has a problem.

  16. Clyde Barrow says:

    “but is it too Orwellian?” Please, let’s stop with the Orwellian reference every time some new technology is used. Second, if we lived in the world of, “Little House On The Prairie”, yeah, we’d be a little over the top, but in today’s world with child molester’s living blocks away from a school and YOUR home, why not? Yeah I wish our world was safer but that ain’t the way it is, so it’s not even an issue for me and I don’t even have kids. I still support this idea.

  17. Blueberry Scone says:

    There are numerous problems with this:
    -What if Johnny loses his card?

    -Or if he gives it to Sam, so Sam can swipe him in?

    -Or what if Johnny and Tommy switch cards?

    -I can only imagine the fun of having, like, 25 first-graders all getting on the bus at once and looking for their cards. Oh, sure, it’ll be a breeze to get them all through the swipe-in location. *rolls eyes*

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      I think the better system would be microchips inbetted into your skin. That eliminates most of the mistakes that can happen with this system.

  18. momtimestwo says:

    I love the idea and wish we had it here for my kids.

  19. Dr.Wang says:

    Technically, it lets the school know where the badge was last time it was swiped, not necessarily where the child is now.

  20. Pax says:

    I don’t see a problem with that system. All it does is create a “data trail” proving the kid got on the bus at X place and time, then got off the bus at Y place and time.

    If I were a kid in that school district, I’d actually be glad of it. Several times in highschool, I was late to arrive because the bus couldn’t make it’s route in the usual time (due to snow, usually). I always got detention for it – so I’d’ve loved to have an affirmative defense, by being able to PROVE that I was on the bus the whole time, and that the bus itself hadn’t arrived at school until I was already late. IOW, “circumstances beyond my control.”

    • marciepooh says:

      Seriously? At my schools we either all went to the office to get late passes or they’d announce over the PA that ‘Bus X was late, please admit students without a tardy’ (You’d get about 5 minutes to get to class before a teacher got suspicious.).

      • Pax says:

        Seriously.

        We had a Vice Principle whose sole responsibility was Discipline. (And he was the former Football coach and Athletics Department director, too.) If you walked in through the doors even two seconds after Second Bell, you didn’t go to your homeroom, you went to his office. And then had to wait there, behind whoever-many other students were in the office for any reason (such as being called there due to a reported disciplinary infraction the day before).

        Invariably, the result was detention.

    • dg says:

      The problem is that there is a data trail. There’s nothing that proves conclusively that the person is actually on or off the bus. All you have is a data entry in a log claiming that it happened.

      If that claim is in error, then you are in the unholy position of proving otherwise.

      Also, those data trails (as unreliable as they can be) tend to provide a pattern of time and dates for locations of a particular person or persons. Anyone trying to effect some nefarious plan need only steal the data.

      Sorry, but I’d tell the school district to bend and flush when they tried to implement this shit. No way my kid would be doing this. Whatever I had to claim in order to opt out of it – I’d do. And I’d make certain to tell everyone of like mind how to do it as well. Then when the utilization was 10%, we could bitch out the School Board for wasting money on something useless.

  21. Aennan says:

    In my school district, children are not allowed on or off the bus unless the parent is there. No neighbors, no babysitters.

    If the parent isn’t there at pickup, the child gets left by the bus in the neighborhood (I admit, I really don’t understand that).

    If the parent isn’t there for drop-off, the child stays on the bus and gets taken back to the school until a parent comes.

    I have no kids, so I don’t understand it. However, this method seems like it would be easier for everyone.

    • humphrmi says:

      That seems a bit harsh… no babysitters? So every household must have one non-working adult? Our school is tough, but they at least allow babysitters, with parent’s written permission.

    • pantheonoutcast says:

      “In my school district, children are not allowed on or off the bus unless the parent is there. No neighbors, no babysitters.”

      Impossible. Parents have the legal right to designate a temporary guardian for their children (and to also make a “blacklist” of people who are prohibited), specifically for things like school pick-up. What if both parents work until 7 PM an hour’s drive away from the school? It’s going to remain open until 8 so the kid can sit there for 5 hours? Also, is the bus driver checking ID’s of every adult waiting at the stop? Or them somehow have memorized the faces of dozens of adults? What if the mother decides to go to work a little later that morning and drop her kid off instead of the father who usually does it? Does she have to call ahead to obtain clearance? What about a biological parent who doesn’t have full custody, but is doing the other parent a favor one day? What if it’s pouring rain and the adult chooses to wait in the car? He should have to stand outside in inclement weather so that a bus driver can visually verify his identity?

      You’re mistaken.

      • wonderkitty now has two dogs says:

        Your school district must not have a lot of working parents in it. Or every business in town allows for parents to leave mid-afternoon to watch their kids get off of a bus.

  22. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Focus on educating them first, then worry about tracking them. No point wasting money keeping track of an investment you haven’t properly invested in.

    • pantheonoutcast says:

      Exactly. $16,000 would be enough for my school to purchase history textbooks current enough to discuss how the Vietnam War ended…

  23. GameHen says:

    It’s something that I would appreciate as a parent of a 2nd grader. The bus stop is two blocks from our house in a very safe neighborhood but it’s out of sight. I let him walk to and from the bus by himself and generally try not to worry, but the fact is, if something happened and he didn’t make it onto the bus, I wouldn’t know until the end of the day when he didn’t come home.

    Additionally, the parents of Kindergarteners are required to walk them to and from the bus each day. No subsitutes allowed unless cleared with the bus driver in advance each time. I understand and agree with this policy (with some reservations). However, it drives me absolutely nuts that the buses never run consistently. I have to stop working, walk up to the stop, and wait for however long it takes for the bus to show up. When they’re running on time, no biggie. When they’re running 15-20 minutes late (which happens often) I’m less understanding. I would LOVE it if I could check where the bus is at before I leave and so time when I have to be there.

    • pantheonoutcast says:

      “I would LOVE it if I could check where the bus is at before I leave and so time when I have to be there.”

      Then you foot the $16,000 bill. I don’t know any taxpayers who are clambering to dig deeper in their already battered pockets in order to spare you the inconvenience of having to wait a whole 15 minutes.

  24. arcticJKL says:

    A couple of points…
    1. Im glad that they are tracking cards not kids.
    2. Im glad its voluntary.
    3. The school/government should be requiring the parents to sign a statement that this action in no way lowers their expectation of privacy.

  25. BrownEyes says:

    If it helps one family, it’s worth it.

    • pantheonoutcast says:

      You’re not familiar with the idea of a cost-benefit analysis, are you? One paranoid set of parents should not cost the taxpayers $16,000. If you’re one of those “there’s a predator lurking around every corner!” type of parents, then you pony up the cash to have little Dakota outfitted with a subcutaneous GPS tracker.

      As long as he is not actively drowning in my backyard pool, I don’t care where your kid is.

  26. Mphone says:

    Orwellian? Let me get my tight pants and nerd glasses. Wow.

    I think it’s great. As long as the school is paying for the cards and not making the parents foot the bill directly(of course taxes are used). The Schools are responsible for our children from the time they get on that bus in the morning until they are back at our homes.

  27. crazydavythe1st says:

    Back in my day (were talking around 1995 or so), my parents made me walk to and from school and later to and from the bus stop (about two miles each way per day in both cases, so not too far). I was told to enjoy it too, so I enjoyed it. I don’t think “child molesters” ever crossed anyone’s mind because it was sunny, 110 degrees, and there were adults everywhere doing things like watering their gardens, washing their cars, mowing their lawn, etc. Also, crazy I know, my parents took the time to meet their neighbors. Fridays were awesome though – the one day per week my parents would pick me up from school and (usually) go to Blockbuster.

  28. Syncop8d1 says:

    Although not exactly related to riding the bus, the school where my kids attend has a mandatory ID card system that is equipped with GPS. They must wear the ID tag on a lanyard in plain view at *all* times. If they lose, deface or break the plastic ID tag, they can pick up a temporary one each day before school or pay $15 to replace the card. If a student is late to class because he or she doesn’t have the ID, then the student gets an automatic detention. It’s all very strange because I am not sure what they are tracking or why. I was thinking of attending the school board meeting next month to find out more.

  29. Emily says:

    I think this is sad and wrong. It disregards the fact that U.S. cities are as safe or more safe than when these parents were kids (during the high-crime 1970s). The needless paranoia seeps into kids’ consciousness (as it clearly has done to the parents) and warps their view of life.

  30. Levk says:

    yea this is not invasion of privacy but then again kids have no rights till they get kidnapped

  31. cheezfri says:

    Wow, I’m really torn on this one. Of course I care about the safety of my child but are problems really THAT common? Yes the horror stories get blasted around the internet, but that’s what the media does best — hype the things that actually happen so infrequently as to be statistically insignificant. How does any school district even have extra money these days? Maybe the money should have gone to something more educational and fun for the kids.

  32. piscesdreamer222 says:

    I saw a news report on this earlier, and they mentioned that the system is a plastic card that is simply attached to the backpack of the student.

    While I cannot think of a better system, I can think of how easily it would be to fool the system either accidentally or on purpose. Students young enough to need a check-in system to ease parents minds are usually the ones that lose small objects or even worse break fragile plastic, and older students that need a check-in system to prevent skipping can simply hand the card to a friend.

    Perhaps we just need to give the system a chance to prove itself, but from this chair, I cannot find a realistic or necessary use for this method. It might not be Orwellian, but possibly a waste of money…

  33. magiclaffs says:

    It is not too Orwellian. Years ago my daughter was supposed to ride the bus home. Supposedly they had a failsafe system where the child was moved from classroom to bus. But the teachers “lost her.” They didn’t know if she was on the bus, was walking home (several miles). I was livid. I suggested a number system using “chips.” Every child had a number when they left the classroom. The teacher picked up the number at the door of the bus. Missing numbers meant missing kids. This system today is better.

  34. weestrom says:

    Just a clarification: that’s the southwest suburbs of Chicago, not a suburb in southwestern Illinois. Southwestern Illinois doesn’t have many people, much less suburbs that would spring for this nonsense.

  35. steal_this_book says:

    I went to a small school district, so it might not scale, but they had an incredibly efficient system for keeping track of kids getting on and off the schoolbus. The driver had a list of kids and a pencil. Any discrepancies (extra kids, unexpected absences) that weren’t prearranged meant a call on the radio to the office and possibly a phone call to parents. It would take a lot of paper to equal $16k. I’m sure the salaries and upkeep to manage the high-tech system far outweigh the two people in charge of handling the daily rosters as well. Oh well, at least it’s shiny and experimental