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South Glens Falls School District to Test Pioneering Student Safety Initiative; Nextel to Install GPS Tracking System on School Bus.

GLENS FALLS, N.Y. -- Summer school has just begun, but the South Glens Falls Central School District is already looking ahead to fall with an eye on student safety.

Today, the district, in partnership with local wireless services provider Nextel Partners (Nasdaq:NXTP), is announcing a new pilot project to install a Nextel modem equipped with GPS (Global Positioning System) technology, camera and student tracking system on a district school bus. The initiative is the first of its kind in Upstate New York.

The GPS feature enables the location and speed of the bus to be tracked in real time as it travels on its route, which covers 25 miles serving approximately 30 summer school students. The system, which is Web-based, instantly transmits longitude and latitude information to a computer, where administrators can monitor the bus's location as it picks up and drops off children along its route.

A scan of student Reader Cards tracks students getting on and off the bus. Additional safety features include inside video cameras, proximity sensor in front door, rear door alarm and wireless panic button, which will enable the driver to instantly contact dispatch or other personnel in case of emergencies.

It's the first such initiative launched by Nextel Partners in response to growing demand from educators for wireless technology that enhances student safety and increases efficiencies. Nextel Partners is an affiliate of Nextel Communications, which has launched similar school bus safety programs in Newark, N.J., and Hartford, Conn.

The technology was unveiled at an announcement event today at Moreau School attended by Nextel Partners and South Glens Falls Central School District staff, local students and parents, and government officials.

"Ensuring the safety of our students is always a priority," said Dr. James McCarthy, Superintendent of the South Glens Falls Central School District, which daily transports approximately 3,500 students on bus routes covering 65 square miles during the school year. "We receive numerous calls from parents each day wondering if a bus arrived early, late or on time. In the past, we had to interrupt the driver to find out. This new technology lets us safely and easily monitor the whereabouts of our students, without distracting the driver, while easing parents' concern."

The district will test the service during a six-week trial and is exploring funding options for expanding the program into additional vehicles this fall. Nextel Partners is inviting other area school districts to evaluate the technology during the South Glens Falls trial run, said Nextel Partners Major Account Executive Kirk Austin. The system is made possible through a partnership with Nextel and technology solutions provider eLutions, Inc.

"With thousands of students served daily, transportation logistics and safety are key concerns for area school districts," stated Gary Grandy, General Manager of Nextel Partners' Albany office. "The ability to instantly track the location of buses -- including delays due to weather, traffic or construction -- and immediately respond to a breakdown or other emergency situation is invaluable as school districts work harder than ever to keep students safe and parents informed."

For cash-strapped school districts, GPS tracking technology has numerous benefits beyond safety, including helping districts design bus routes that maximize efficiency and staff resources, reduce operating costs, and save on fuel.

About Nextel Partners

Nextel Partners, Inc. (Nasdaq:NXTP), a FORTUNE 1000 company based in Kirkland, Wash., has exclusive rights to offer the same fully integrated, digital wireless communications services offered by Nextel Communications (Nextel) in mid-sized and rural markets in 31 states where approximately 54 million people reside. Nextel Partners and Nextel together offer the largest guaranteed all-digital wireless network in the country serving 297 of the top 300 U.S. markets. To learn more about Nextel Partners, visit www.nextelpartners.com.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Jul 14, 2005
Words:620
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