Cameras could catch drivers passing school buses

Published 04/26 2013 04:22PM

Updated 08/29 2013 11:39AM

SPRINGFIELD -- State lawmakers hope to crack down on drivers who don't stop for school buses. It could help struggling school districts bring in a few dollars. WCIA-3's Ashley Michels keeps us Connected to the Capitol.

They want to put traffic cameras on the back of buses. The idea is the cameras will help catch violators and schools would get the money. It's an easy way to fill in some budget holes, but not everyone's for it.

There are several laws to help keep students safe outside the classroom, but everyone doesn't always want to follow the rules of the road. So, some lawmakers want to outfit school buses with surveillance cameras.

They already have one to keep an eye on kids. The new ones would watch over drivers.

"Anytime a student is in danger, that's a problem."

If you pass a stopped bus, you'd get a ticket, just like a red light camera. Local districts would get the money. It's something supporters say could really help cash-strapped schools.

But critics argue the cameras are for all the wrong reasons.

"Public safety should never be used as a mechanism to fund anything."

Schools already get some money from bus violations. But, Williamsville Superintendent Dan Root says it's not enough to make a difference in their budget.

"We've gotten two checks  this year for $50 a piece, okay? That's $100 for the school year."

He worries some cameras will be misused to make bigger profits.

"You always want to have some way to fund a school district, but if we're depending on public crimes to fund our educational process, then there's a bigger problem than that."

It would be up to local districts and law enforcement to decide if cameras would be used. The measure already passed the Senate and is headed to the House.

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