DeKalb School District 428 board debates proposed GPS electronic monitoring policy

Decision on GPS electronic monitoring for district-owned, leased vehicles could come at Tuesday school board meeting

School officials are seen at the May 7, 2024 meeting of the DeKalb School District 428 board.

DeKALB – To better keep inventory of its investments, the DeKalb School District 428 board is considering the idea of implementing a new GPS electronic monitoring policy for district-owned and leased vehicles.

District staff said board discussion on this topic was necessary to help the district get a grasp of what is commonly viewed as best practice.

Deetra Sallis, the district’s director of human resources, said the district is seeking approval from the board to adopt a policy to support the use of GPS electronic monitoring devices.

“It’s to protect our assets,” Sallis said. “We don’t want it to become an issue.”

The devices have not been installed in any district-owned and leased vehicles, to date.

Sallis said the proposed policy has been received favorably by the district’s unions.

“We have informed our unions that the devices may be installed and based upon that they had concerns,” Sallis said. “None of them had concerns. We explained to them there would be a policy to support that and they were all in agreement with that.”

Both Vice President Christopher Boyes and board member Amanda Harness questioned the need for the proposed policy.

“Is, I guess, there a reason that we feel we’re needing to do this?” Boyes asked. “Are box trucks just walking away?”

Harness asked if anything has been stolen.

“Nothing has been [stolen,] but we also don’t want it to come to the point that that has happened and then we can’t locate our assets,” Sallis said in response.

Tammy Carson, the district’s director of facility and safety operations, emphasized the importance of the district protecting its assets.

The district’s facility department fleet assets range over $2 million, officials said.

“It is a common practice among school districts to have the tracking for assets because the dollar amount that you put into the purchases for those vehicles,” Carson said.

The district’s facility department has 21 vehicles in its fleet, which officials said includes trucks, vans, trailers and maintenance/grounds equipment. None of these assets is part of a GPS tracking system. Officials said the only other departments with vehicles are driver’s education and the activity buses.

Harness acknowledged the need for the GPS electronic monitoring policy, but questioned if this will allow the district to save money on insurance.

The proposed policy, if approved, would position the district to proceed with paying for GPS electronic monitoring installation in the amount of $4,500 plus $600 per month and $20 per vehicle, school board documents show.

Armir Doka, the district’s director of business and finance, stressed that it’s more about the district keeping better track of its assets.

“It is a recommendation from insurance as an added layer of protection for our district assets but also the safety,” Doka said. “I’m not aware that it’s going to lower it that much.”

At the school board’s May 21 meeting, Doka plans to report back to school officials about whether any cost savings may be realized. Also at that time, the board will put the GPS electronic monitoring policy to a vote.

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