RFID Talk Blog

100K students in San Antonio could soon carry RFID-enabled ID cards

RFID has come a long way. Just a few years ago, the notion of tracking students with RFID was met with strong resistance from parents and privacy groups. Today, it is a use case that is rapidly growing in popularity.

The latest example comes from San Antonio, Tex., where close to 7,000 students in the Northside Independent School District will utilize RFID-enabled student ID cards in a pilot this fall. If successful, all 100,000 students in the school district could soon be carrying the ID cards. According to published reports, the school district hopes to increase safety by knowing the whereabouts of students at all times, and also gain more government grant money by having better attendance policies.

Students at John Jay High School in San Antonio will carry RFID-enabled ID cards this fall.

The school district will pilot the technology at John Jay High School and Anson Jones Middle School. While safety has always been the primary reason behind deploying RFID with young students, the revenue side of the equation presents a new twist and could result on more communities considering the technology.

Here’s an excerpt from an article carried by the Los Angeles Times on Monday:

The Northside Independent School District in San Antonio, Texas, will embark on an experimental project next year to track thousands of students at two schools by putting scanner chips in their ID cards.

“We want to harness the power of technology to make schools safer, know where our students are all the time in a school, and increase revenues,” district spokesman Pascual Gonzalez told the San Antonio Express-News. “Parents expect that we always know where their children are, and this technology will help us do that.”

Wait — “increase revenues”?

That’s right: The pilot program will cost $525,065 and then $136,005 per year to run, an assistant superintendent for budget and finance told the Express-News, but the school is expected to get $1.7 million next year for higher attendance and Medicaid reimbursements for busing special education students.

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