As Tulsa Public Schools fights through budget cuts, a potential partnership is brewing which could save the district money in the long run.
The potential partnership between TPS and Tulsa Transit; and it could ensure students have more ways to get to school.
Tech experts are using their skills to find a way to allow TPS students to use the buses to get to and from school.
They already have the routes. They already make the stops. So why not connect high school students who need a ride to school with these buses?
"They're the kids that really want to have mobility but don't have it because they don't have a driver's license or don't have a parent that can take them where they need to go," said INCOG transportation coordinator, James Wagner.
Wagner’s mission is to bring together tech experts, TPS and Tulsa Transit for the project.
"You can use Google Maps to plan a trip on transit, just like you would your driving directions," he said.
It’s data technology that could be used to build an app, which would allow students to find the best, fastest Tulsa Transit route to and from school.
Wagner said, "So it's not a new app, we're just using an app that already exists and we're leveraging that so that students can use that in their everyday lives."
Wagner hopes technology experts can take the bus schedule and route data and mash it with a student's individual trip to school.
"And give them a customized trip plan, so they know how to get from where they live to their school every single day," he said.
Wagner thinks it could help fight truancy saying, "When they miss the school bus, now they just decided 'I'm not going to go to school at all today.'"
But if the technology is available to them, they should be able to find a ride.
“They may be late to school, but they won't miss the entire day," Wagner said.
Tulsa Public Schools leaders say they are excited about the opportunity and will have more information to announce once, and if, a partnership is finalized.
The plan would not affect any school bus routes. All buses would run as normal, it would just give families and students another option.