San Angelo ISD Begins Outfitting School Buses with Wi-Fi


SAN ANGELO, TX — At the Oct. 16 San Angelo ISD board meeting, the proposal to add Wi-Fi to 28 school buses was unanimously approved. Wi-Fi will be made available for middle school and high school students.

Charlyn Doyle, Director of Technology for San Angelo ISD, reported cost for converting 28 buses is as follows:

The cost of start-up is $45,035.73. This includes cost of equipment, installation, and a $699 yearly fee for management of the system/web filter. This cost also includes 9 months service for the data plan, and telecom and administration fees.

$12,700.21 is the annual recurring costs for each school year’s 9 months of service for all 28 buses after the first year.

Eight “charter” style buses like the one pictured above will be outfitted, and 20 of the newest traditional yellow buses will be Wi-Fi capable once the equipment is installed.

AT&T and Verizon will provide carrier services for the Wi-Fi —one alternating for the other depending on coverage. The system will also include filters that prohibit students from accessing certain non-curricula websites.

The school district draws funding for the Wi-Fi project from General Fund, Special Projects.

Three bids for the Wi-Fi were scored, with Kajeet--GTS Technology Systems being awarded the contract. Awards are based not only on cost, but ease of doing business going forward. GTS Technology is headquartered in Austin.

Project start time and completion depend on how quickly purchase orders will process between SAISD and Kajeet—GTS.

According to the Transportation Department at San Angelo ISD, the bus fleet accumulated 650,000 miles of travel in 2016. According to Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum Jana Reuter, “The greatest benefit to the student is having access to online instruction,” making it easier to complete homework as they travel to and from activities.

For example, travel to Amarillo for athletic functions is about a 9 hour drive, round trip—dead time without the student having access to Wi-Fi to complete homework. It isn’t uncommon for students to arrive back to San Angelo late in the night only to face another hour or two of homework.

The Huntsville ISD and Midway ISD also equipped 15 buses on their fleet with Wi-Fi.

AT&T and Verizon will provide carrier services for the Wi-Fi, either one as an alternate depending on coverage. The system will also include filters that prohibit students from accessing certain non-curricula websites.

Charlyn Doyle, Director of Technology for San Angelo ISD said that plans are underway to secure electronic devices for those students who may not own devices.

In terms of making technology more widely available for Texas students, Gov. Greg Abbott recently announced a goal of broadband Internet access for all 5.2 million Texas schoolchildren by 2018.

The picture is courtesy of James M. who has taken pictures of many of the school district activity buses across west Texas and New Mexico. See his pictures here.

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j j, Wed, 10/18/2017 - 08:08

The school district draws funding for the Wi-Fi project from General Fund, Special Projects. Of course, this would not be taxpayers money. Free Wi-Fi and now looking for money for free devices for those who don't have their own. How much studying do they think a bus full of teenagers are going to do at 70 mph, concentrating on an upcoming event on one leg and recovering from that same event on the other leg. This is just more taxpayers money being used/abused, higher property taxes and lame excuses for spending more to get more. Doctor Dingbat, I await your reply as well as Mr. Turner's.

I don't think kid will study on bus! Seem kid play game on bus, do facebook on bus. Drive my tax up on house! Drive my tax up on business! Too much tax! Move to Texas for freedom and small tax! Instead get kid on school bus with wifi when kid not study on bus! Seem crazy! Treat like royalty! Seem crazy! Who come up with idea to spend tax money like this?

The cost looks pretty affordable to me. I'm a web worker since 1995.

Our nation obviously does not have the backbone to resist an Orwellian future so the norm is set and will be perpetuated unless society finds some other way to destroy itself sooner.

One direct economic effect will be to reduce data charges for wage-earning parents. Low-cost plans which are aimed at low-income families include outrageous data charges. I think most of us realize that homework won't be the primary activity, but, at least, the total data cost to our community (and struggling families) will be reduced to a flat rate.

Those of us that worry about waste of tax money will do best to hope the feds, state or local board doesn't require a new assistant supt. position and $500K budget to spy on the kids use of wifi.

j j, Fri, 10/20/2017 - 15:33

The benefits will never outweigh the cost when big government and big business continue to take money from the citizens to pay for things the citizens don't condone. This money comes from the added fees ((taxes) with my tongue in cheek) charged to everyone's telephone payments to provide money for internet services for schools and libraries. It's charged and taken without the customer's consent. I don't mind anyone having access but it should be paid from their budget, not invading on mine. To allow the government to partner with big businesses to take money from citizens is not democratic and is not worth the cost....ever!!!! Well Conchosoft, I hope you didn't give them the idea of another position in this age of more always being better.

$45,035.73 star-up & $12,700.21 annually after that? Yeah right! I can see them now, just studying away as they access all the "educational web sites" while cruising down the highway . If they have homework, shouldn't they be at home doing that work, ? What's next, 70" flat screens and a bar? Another big waste of tax dollars spent by the school district so they can read about themselves in the paper. Another reason to love San Angelo!

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