YORKVILLE – The Yorkville School District 115 Board of Education was told during an update this week there have been more than 150 bus stop arm violations since cameras were added to the signs on 10 district buses in December.
The board received information regarding the recently approved school bus stop arm cameras, including year-to-date violation data, during their meeting Monday, April 29 at Yorkville High School library on Game Farm Road.
Lisa Banovetz, director of business services for District 115, said there have been 152 violations since December, when the district started monitoring the violations. She said there were 22 in March, considering there was a week off of school for spring break, and there have been 34 violations so far this month.
“We continue to work with Septran to take a look at where the violations are,” Banovetz said. “So we make sure that, if there’s routes that don’t have cameras on them that are experiencing violations, that we have them move those cameras to those respective routes.”
The board also got an update on Illinois House Bill 1873, which would double the fines for offenders who fail to stop for school buses. The current fees for first and second time offenders are $150 and $500, respectively.
According to the bill, the license suspension time would remain the same, which is three months for first offense and up to a year for a second time.
Banovetz said her office recently made a call to Springfield to ask about the progress of the bill. She said staff found out it’s with the criminal law committee and they apparently have until the end of May to make a decision on whether to impose those new fines increases.
“We keep watching it,” Banovetz said.
Yorkville Schools Superintendent Tim Shimp said district officials have designed posters in meantime that can be distributed with the new information eventually, should the bill pass.
Robert Brenart, vice president of the Yorkville School District 115 Board of Education, said there have been some interesting discussions among state legislators so far, including comments about the hike being a hardship for Chicago parents in particular. Brenart said he thought one legislator hit it on the head when they brought up the point that a driver probably would get the message to not do it again after the first ticket.
“I was like, ‘You’ve gotta be kidding me,’ “ Brenart said.
Banovetz said her office had asked the Kendall County State’s Attorney’s office if violator demographics are tracked. She said they were told that the state’s attorney’s office don’t have the manpower to look further into that and it’s not possible to do so at this time.
Board member Ashley Shields said driver’s licenses are public record and that you can look up violators’ names on traffic reports and compare them against the licenses.
She said it’s easy to find those records on her own laptop and that she will have to talk to state’s attorney about it further.
“They have the manpower,” Shields said.
The update comes after Banovetz said last month there were 38 violations in February and 58 in December and January combined during an update at the March 18 school board meeting. It also follows the board approving the program at its Nov. 26 meeting to place 10 cameras on the stop sign arms of the buses run by Septran, the district’s busing contractor at $324.90 per camera.
“One-hundred fifty plus violations since we’ve been monitoring this is unbelievable,” Lynn Burks, school board president, said in response to the Monday, April 29 update. “That is unbelievable.”