Wednesday, July 27, 2005

GPS in DC school buses

There's a new storm brewing over a controversial program to equip all of DCPS's school buses with GPS tracking equipment. Under the court appointed leadership of David Gilmore the DCPS Transportation Department has purchased $1.5 million worth of GPS equipment to install in their fleet of 650 buses. In addition the Department will pay roughly $800,000 in annual maintenance fees. Gilmore says the system is needed to assure the performance of his department. Others, however, are worried that costs at the department are spiraling out of control.
EVEN SOME SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS ARE EXASPERATED BY THE EXPENDITURE. THEY SAY THE ADMINISTRATOR HAS ALREADY SPENT $10 MILLION MORE THAN HIS $61 MILLION BUDGET.

Tommy Wells: "We have a school system to run. Nobody can have an open checkbook because of what it will do to cripple the school system and so this has got to be reined in."

David Gilmore: "(laughs) Okay. Alright. I love this."

THE COURT-APPOINTED MAN BEHIND THE GPS SYSTEM, DAVID GILMORE, IS UNMOVED BY HIS CRITICS. HE ANSWERS ONLY TO THE COURT AND ARGUES THAT THE GPS SYSTEM PROVIDES A CRITICAL SNAPSHOT OF EVERY BUS DRIVER'S PERFORMANCE, INCLUDING THEIR CURRENT LOCATION AND SPEED.

David Gilmore: "“If I'm going to be held accountable for the welfare of 4,000 children twice a day morning and night, I want to make sure I have the best and most sophisticated monitoring equipment that's available to me. So that I can do that."

THE SCHOOL BOARD IS SO UPSET THAT LAST WEEK'S AGENDA INCLUDED THIS EXTRAORDINARY ITEM: A RESOLUTION ADVISING THE TRANSPORTATION ADMINISTRATOR (GILMORE) OF ANTI-DEFICIENCY ACT VIOLATIONS... MAKING HIM LEGALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS OVER-SPENDING.
You can watch the WJLA report by clicking here.

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