Katy ISD approves measures to bring relief to busing needs

KATY, Texas – The Katy Independent School District Board of Trustees approved two measures Monday that it hopes will help improve the transportation of students.

All buses will now be equipped with eight cameras located in the front, inside and back of the bus, which will be an upgrade of the current transportation camera system. The board of trustees also approved a contract for the 2020-2012 school year that will allow the district to hire GoldStar Transit as a third-party transportation provider to help ease some of Katy’s district wide driver shortage issues.

“The camera system upgrade will provide the latest in technology and safety measures available in school bus transportation,” said Ted Vierling, Katy’s assistant superintendent of operations. “The system is capable of supplying video coverage of every seat positioned in the school bus, while also monitoring the activity in nearly every corner of the vehicle and bus stop locations.”

Installation of the cameras is set to begin during the upcoming winter break and all 330 regular buses and 241 special education buses are all scheduled to have the new cameras installed by the end of the 2019-2020 school year.

The agreement with GoldStar Transit, a Texas-based transportation company, will service at least 40 bus routes for Katy. A more accurate number of routes will be available once the new school and enrollment routes are confirmed this summer, Katy officials said. But the hiring of GoldStar Transit is critical given that Katy has struggled to recruit drivers during a time when there is a state and nation-wide bus driver shortage, officials said.

GoldStar already provides service to school districts such as Fort Bend ISD, Bastrop ISD, Waco ISD, and Navasota ISD.

The GoldStar drivers will go through the same training as Katy ISD bus drivers and the company’s buses will display Katy ISD signage and the equipment will be on level with standards set by the school district for all of its buses.

“The best option for us has always been, and will continue to be, to recruit and train our own drivers,” Vierling said. “The GoldStar Transit agreement is to help address the shortage until the point wherein we see more candidates applying for Katy ISD bus driving positions, and we can sustain a constant flow of qualified individuals coming through our doors.”