Davis Demographics & Planning, Inc. (DDP), and Education Planning Solutions, Inc. (EPS), with support from ESRI, have teamed up to offer approximately $7 million in grants that foster and support the integration of GIS applications for public school districts in the United States. A total of 250 recipients will receive GIS software, introductory training, and other materials focusing on transportation, enrollment projections, and school mapping in public schools. The software award includes a one-year, single-seat license of Smartr for school transportation from EPS (which incorporates ArcView and ArcView Network Analyst), and SchoolSite from DDP. Both applications provide numerous GIS tools that offer spatial and data decision-making advantages that help districts effectively plan and maintain critical administrative programs. Smartr brings tailored GIS functionality to mapping, managing, and analyzing data about school transportation including information about students, buses, routing, accidents, and other vital knowledge. In the process, walk zones are identified, runs and routes are optimized, and transportation equipment needs are analyzed.
DDP’s SchoolSite application was created to assist districts with planning processes involving student and school location and the changes surrounding both. Two extensions utilize data about boundaries, students and their demographics, school capacity, and other key elements to help the district plan for present and future enrollment and appropriate zoning and facilities. Besides software, recipients will receive a selection of ESRI GIS workbooks and distance learning courses to support their development. They will also have access to Web-based technical support from DDP, EPS, and ESRI. The grants will have a valuable impact on public schools and their needs as GIS and other geospatial technologies become intrinsic parts of school district administration. The grants, available to any U.S. school district, will be awarded April 15, 2003–December 15, 2003, with the one-year grant period commencing on the award date.