Florida District to Receive School Bus Radio Upgrades

Sadiah Thompson
Posted on November 29, 2018

The Lake County (Fla.) Schools board agreed to a $1.2 million deal to install new Motorola radio systems on all of the district's school buses.
The Lake County (Fla.) Schools board agreed to a $1.2 million deal to install new Motorola radio systems on all of the district's school buses.
LAKE COUNTY, Fla. — A school district here recently agreed to a $1.2 million deal to upgrade its school bus radio system.

Scott Pfender, the director of transportation for Lake County Schools, told School Bus Fleet that the district will install the latest Motorola radio system on all of its buses, with the exception of the district's activity buses.

“We’re looking forward to it,” Pfender told SBF. “This is really a great opportunity for us to upgrade with a system that will allow us to get a full recharge all throughout the district, enhancing the district's transportation communication."

The Lake County School board, at its meeting on Monday, agreed to a five-year leasing plan for the school bus radios, in which yearly payments of $240,000 will be made to Radio One, the company providing the radio system.

Jimmer Roy, the safety and security specialist for Lake County Schools, told SBF the district plans to roll out the new system over the next six months, and will make the upgrades to each bus per bus lot.

For the first time, Pfender said, the radio system will allow school administrators to communicate directly with bus drivers.

“In emergency situations it will certainly be helpful,” Pfender said. "It [the radios] gives them the ability to talk directly to a bus [driver], instead of working through main dispatch and us making a radio call out."

However, Pfender said, there will need to be protocols in place to prevent school administrators from interfering with dispatch calls to drivers from the transportation department.

As for training to use the new radios, Pfender said the systems are largely similar to what drivers are currently using, and little to no training will be required.

Lake County Schools operates 325 school buses, and provides transportation services to 42 district-owned buildings.

Related Topics: Florida, two-way radios

Comments ( 3 )
  • Alvin

     | about 3 months ago

    It's strange how a lot of transportation agencies as well as police districts are leaning away from the most popular Kenwood 2 way radios. Motorla seems a bit off but if it's useful then why not? My personal opinion is that school bus radios need to to have different channels instead of all companies sharing one channel such as this or Band. It would be a lot easier and less radio traffic.

  • See all comments
More Stories
Some school transportation departments have found that children’s rideshare services, such as HopSkipDrive, can offer flexible scheduling and more efficiency when serving students with special needs, and those who are homeless or in foster care.

How Ridesharing Can Meet a Variety of Student Needs

Children’s rideshare services can offer scheduling flexibility, quick response time, and more efficient use of resources when serving homeless, foster care, and special-needs students. Factors to consider are budget and coordination between multiple parties.

Photo courtesy Frederick County (Md.) Public Schools

Getting School Bus Drivers, Aides Involved in the IEP Process

While it may not be ideal for transportation staff to be involved in every step of the Individualized Education Program process, it is essential for them to communicate with parents and related service staff to acquire information that may directly impact a student’s safe travel to and from school.

Be the First to Know

Get the latest news and most popular articles from SBF delivered straight to your inbox. Stay on top of the school bus industry and don't miss a thing!