STRONGSVILLE, Ohio — A school district here has agreed to purchase interior video surveillance cameras for some of its school buses.
The Strongsville City Schools board, at its meeting on July 15, unanimously approved the purchase of the cameras, which will cost approximately $121,131, according to a board meeting video. (Note: The discussion of the cameras starts at about the four-minute mark.) The systems will be installed — for the first time — on most of the district’s spare buses and those that are used for daily routes and field trips.
Cameron Ryba, the superintendent for Strongsville City Schools, told the board, according to the video, that the funding for the cameras comes from the district’s more than $200,000 in annual savings from buying larger and fewer school buses, instead of its usual purchase of five smaller school buses. (The funds will enable the district to buy 260 of the cameras, according to Cleveland.com.) The systems will be purchased and installed by REI and will feature a total of four cameras on the buses to capture video footage of the interior of the school bus.
“The problem that we’re trying to fix and address [by installing the cameras] is the fact that we have no documentation of surveillance on our buses,” Ryba told the board. “First and foremost, it’s about the safety of our students on the buses and being able to have that video footage, should we need it.”
George Grozan, a member of the board, added in the video that the cameras will help hold students accountable for their actions and create a safe environment for students while on their ride to and from school.
In addition to the camera systems, Ryba said that the district is working on a plan to add GPS systems to its buses and will recommend a proposal for the system once price quotes are finalized. He also said the district would potentially look into installing exterior cameras on some of its buses.
Duke Evans, the board vice president, also brought up adding seat belts on school buses and said that the board “will look at that later on,” but noted the challenges of cost and giving the drivers the responsibility of getting the students to wear them.