Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Four firms submit bids to review Knox Co. Schools transportation operation

Four companies are interested in evaluating Knox County Schools' transportation department, part of a multi-pronged approach to improve school bus safety.

Requests for proposals opened Tuesday afternoon by Knox County Purchasing Division officials show these firms expressing interest: Auxilio Services Inc. of Lansing, Mich.; Prismatic Services Inc. of Cornelius, N.C.; Pupil Transportation Safety Institute, of East Syracuse, N.Y.; and School Bus Consultants LLC of Edgewater, Md.

The school system will work with county purchasing to identify the best proposal, according to Knox County Schools spokeswoman Melissa Ogden.

The system also plants to install cameras in school buses. Earlier this month the county opened seven proposals from four companies to install the cameras. The plan is to put on each bus a camera aimed at the driver and one aimed at the passenger area.

The system will work with county purchasing to pick a vendor, to be followed by Knox County Board of Education approval, perhaps next month.

Other initiatives meant to improve safety: Drivers will face additional hours of training, and a "Safety Check Ride System" also will be put in place in which uniformed officers will regularly but randomly observe bus rides.

In addition, the school system plans to hire a customer service manager to help parents with school bus needs and questions.

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