The Lee County School District has been testing a new app called "Where's the Bus," which tracks your child's bus using GPS and let's you know exactly where it is throughout the day. The pilot program is being used at Heights Elementary, but the district hopes to roll it out at all 78 Lee County schools in the fall.
The School District interviewed Debbie Wilkerwicz, who has two kids at Heights Elementary. She said they've been using the "Where's the Bus" app for the last few weeks.
"It allows us to wait until the very last minute almost to get out here," she said. "The kids even will grab my phone in the morning."
The Assistant Principal at Heights Elementary, Karen Woods, said the app is also helpful to staff.
"This tells us where the buses are, so we may only have to call on one bus every now and then, whereas every day we were trying to find out about two, three, and four buses. So this has been a big time saver," Woods said.
"You're in the morning, trying to get the kids out the door, and when the bus is late, it's a problem, so we want you to know right where that bus is. We want to eliminate that confusion," Rob Spicker, Communications Coordinator for the Lee County School District said.
In March, Tracey Clere told us about how she was having issues with her kids' bus.
"They make jokes about it all the time -- I wonder if it'll show up today. Are you going to take us?" she said.
In April, other parents shared a similar problem.
"Parents should not be afraid when their kids are coming home," Crystal Melvin said.
"You never know if the bus is going to show up, if it's not going to show up," Beverly Heckey said.
Another parent told Fox 4 on Tuesday her kids' bus to Ida Baker High School has been consistently late.
"I've had to call the school itself to find out where the bus is and the bus depot didn't even know the driver had not arrived for their shift," Carin in Cape Coral said.
While she thinks the app is helpful, she said it doesn't get to the root of the problem -- the tardiness.
"If there's a continuing problem, the GPS data on that bus can be used by transportation, and they can look and determine why that bus was late," Spicker said.
The School District is asking parents at Heights Elementary to complete surveys asking their thoughts on the app.
To signup and download the app:
1. Go to www.WheresTheBus.com.
2. On the home page, inside the Parents section on the left, click on the "Set up account" button.
3. When prompted, please select Lee County School District.
4. Enter parent and student information.
5. Once your information is validated, you will receive an e-mail with instructions and download information.