Policies and Regulations NEPN Code: EE-R
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Support Services
Transportation Services

Eligibility
The following groups of students are eligible for transportation:

  • Students K-8 who live in designated bus areas are eligible for transportation.
  • Students may be transported if they are subjected to an "unusual safety hazard" or assigned to an existing bus route by the Business Manager or designee.
  • Students in need of special education or special education and related services may be transported as determined by an Individual Education Program (IEP) Team.
  • Students who participate in the District’s Fee Based Transportation program are also eligible for transportation according to the guidelines established for the program.

For safety reasons and based on the individual abilities of the student, certain students must be met by a parent/guardian or designee at the student’s bus stop (e.g. RISE, early childhood, and certain summer school students hereinafter vulnerable students).

School District Responsibilities
The responsibility for the daily operation, enforcement of these policies, and administration of the student transportation system is delegated from the Board to the Superintendent, Business Manager or designee, and the building principals. The Business Manager and the building principals act as liaisons between the bus contractor and the parent/guardian relating to transportation service. The District and the contractor share responsibility for the safety and discipline of the students from the time a student boards the bus until a student leaves the bus. The District will assist the bus contractor with the inservice training of drivers, bus aides, and students, and the responsibilities of each. The District will communicate the specific parameters of the program with the parents/guardians of vulnerable students.

Principal Responsibilities
The principal or designees responsibilities include:

  • Coordinate the unloading and loading procedure.
  • Assist the school bus contractor with problems.
  • Report the change of address for eligible students during the school year.
  • Investigate written complaints in conjunction with the parent/guardian, the contractor, and the Business Manager or Special Services, as appropriate.
  • Contact parent/guardian when a vulnerable student is returned to school, if parent/guardian was not at bus stop to receive the child. After 2nd and subsequent times, principal will contact the Department of Social Services and/or law enforcement and may charge the parent/guardian a fee when they pick up their child.
    Will send the contractor special health care information, gathered from online enrollment and Infinite Campus.

Contractor Responsibilities
The bus contractor is responsible for insuring that vehicles, drivers, and aides involved in transporting students follow the rules and regulations adopted by the state and federal government, the Board, and the items addressed in the contract with the District. The District and the contractor share responsibility for the safety and discipline of the students from the time a student boards the bus until the student leaves the bus. The District will assist the bus contractor with the inservice training of drivers, bus aides and students, and the responsibilities of each.

Driver Responsibilities
The school bus driver shall meet the requirements for school bus drivers as set forth by the Department of Public Safety, Division of Motor Vehicles, and the Department of Education.

  1. Route
    1. The driver will be expected to maintain a consistency in timing for all routes to which the driver is assigned. This means that students should be picked up at the same time and place every day.
    2. Bus drivers will allow only authorized riders on the bus.
    3. Bus drivers will not digress from their regular route except for road construction or other unusual conditions.
    4. Students will not be allowed to exit the bus other than at their normal drop-off point unless the bus driver has written permission, dated and signed, by the parent/guardian and the principal/designee.
  2. Pickup point of special needs students
    1. The driver will arrive at the scheduled time. The horn will not be used.
    2. The driver will assist the bus aide and/or parent/guardian with helping the student to board the bus when necessary.
    3. The driver will be sure that the bus aide has securely fastened seat belts and restraining devices.
    4. The driver will inform the contractor of those instances when parents/guardians are causing unreasonable delays.
  3. In transit
    1. The driver shall be responsible for maintaining a disciplined environment while the students are on the bus.
    2. The driver will assist the aide on Special Services buses.
    3. The driver will report all inappropriate behavior by means of the Student Incident Report form.
    4. The driver will drive defensively and reasonably.
  4. Drop-off point of special needs students
    1. The driver will arrive at the scheduled time within reasonable limits.
    2. The driver will assist the bus aide and/or parent/guardian in helping the student off the bus when necessary.
    3. If there is no one at home to receive the student, notify the contractor's office and return the student to the school.
    4. The driver will not allow a student to ride another bus or exit the bus other than at their designated drop off point, unless the bus driver has written permission, dated and signed, by the parent/guardian and the principal/designee.
  5. Emergency procedures
    1. The driver will administer first aid and seek emergency medical help and/or police assistance.
    2. The driver will report all injuries to the contractor who will report to the school principal and Business Manager or designee.
    3. In the event of vehicle breakdown:
      1. The driver will report the breakdown to the dispatcher immediately by two-way radio or by sending the aide to report the breakdown.
      2. The driver will do whatever is possible to correct the problem, providing an aide is on the bus with the students.
      3. If there is no aide, the driver will stay on the bus to supervise students and make them as safe and comfortable as possible until help arrives.
    4. The driver involved in an accident must report the accident as soon as possible to the contractor's office via two-way radio. The contractor will then report the accident to law enforcement authorities, building principal, and Business Manager or designee.
    5. The bus contractor and school administration will determine safe sites where students may be taken in the event weather emergencies occur while buses are in route.
  6. Other responsibilities
    1. The safety and welfare of the bus riders shall be the first consideration of the bus driver at all times.
    2. The driver's personal appearance must be neat, clean and presentable.
    3. The driver must not smoke on or near the bus or on school property.
    4. The driver will activate the 8-light system and stop arm according to statute and District policy.
    5. The driver will conduct emergency evacuation drills on each route at least three times during the school year in accordance with Federal Highway and Head Start Safety Program Standard No. 17.
    6. The driver's day is not complete until all students have been delivered to a destination and to the supervision of a responsible person.
    7. The driver will have information in the vehicle on each special needs student assigned to the bus and be familiar with the special needs of each student.
    8. The driver may assign students to seats on the bus to maintain discipline.
    9. The driver is prohibited from striking a student; however, the driver may restrain a student to protect the student from harming self or others.
    10. The driver should work out a form of communication with the school so that the driver is aware that someone is there to receive the student.
  7. Training of driver
    1. The driver will have a thorough knowledge of all traffic laws and regulations.
    2. The driver will receive pre-service training by the contractor on aspects of the vehicle itself and road driving instruction by a qualified and experienced bus driver.
    3. The driver will receive a written copy of the route description.
    4. The driver will receive training to serve on substitute routes.
    5. The driver will receive instruction on the District's transportation policies.

Aide Responsibilities
Bus aides assigned to buses transporting special needs students are to assist the driver in carrying out the driver's responsibilities. Many handicapped students need special care and attention. When special handling is required students are to be accorded the dignity and respect they deserve as human beings.

  1. The aide will provide the students that special care and attention the student may need during transit by:
    1. Securely fastening the safety equipment or other restraining device, if required.
    2. Making the students as comfortable as possible during the ride.
    3. Observing students with medical needs who require medical attention.
    4. Securing the student's clothing if it has been removed or loosened before leaving the bus.
    5. Checking that students have their personal property when leaving the bus.
  2. The aide will assist special needs students on and off the school bus.
    1. It may be necessary to leave the bus and assist or carry the student between the door of the school and the school bus, and across the street to and from the bus to the curb at the student's home.
    2. The aide should work out a form of communication with the school so that the aide is aware that someone is there to receive the student.
  3. The aide will assist the bus driver in maintaining a disciplined environment on the school bus.
    1. The aide directs all students to be seated, enforces all bus riding rules, and helps maintain an acceptable noise level.
    2. The aide assists the driver to report, by using the Student Incident Report, all incidents to the principal when students are not obeying bus safety rules.
    3. It may be necessary for the aide to assign bus seats in order to maintain discipline.
    4. The aide is prohibited from striking a student; however, the aide may restrain a student to protect the student from harming self or others.
  4. The aide will have information in the vehicle on all students assigned to the bus and be familiar with the special needs and problems of each student.
  5. The aide will not allow a student to ride another bus or exit the bus other than at their designated drop off point, unless the bus driver/aide has written permission, dated and signed, by the parent/guardian and the principal/designee.

Parent/Guardian Responsibilities
Parents/Guardians must recognize that transportation is a service provided by the District to assist in achieving quality education for their students. To provide a safe ride for all, it is imperative that parents/guardians, assume an active role to insure that their students follow and observe all school bus rules and work with school officials and the bus contractor to cooperatively solve problems.

  1. Students will ride on assigned buses.
  2. A parent/guardian may ride the bus if prior arrangements are made with the building principal and bus contractor.
  3. Student passengers will not get on or off the bus at a place other than their regular stop, unless the bus driver has written permission, dated and signed, by the parent/guardian and the principal/designee.
  4. The parent/guardian is encouraged to contact the building principal regarding any problems with school bus transportation.
  5. The parent/guardian and student are responsible for damages to the vehicle caused by the student.
  6. In the event of bad weather/emergency closings:
    1. The student should know where to go when school is dismissed early.
    2. The parent/guardian should listen to the radio or television for information about school closings or early dismissals.
    3. School officials will use their best judgment about school closings or early dismissals, but a parent/guardian has the right to keep students home or to pickup the students from school if they feel the weather requires this action. If parents/guardians exercise this right the student will incur an excused absence. (Refer to Policy EBCE/EBCE-R - School Closings and Cancellations and JH/JH-R - Student Absences and Excuses.)
  7. Preparing the student to ride the bus:
    1. The bus contractor should be called prior to 6:30 a.m. when the special needs student will not be riding the bus that day.
    2. The parent/guardian shall have the student ready at the scheduled pickup time.
      1. Feeding and personal needs should be completed before the school bus arrives.
      2. Students should be properly dressed for weather conditions and protection in emergency situations.
      3. Properly label student's supplies, materials and special needs carried on the bus.
    3. Instruct the student to know the bus number which appears on the outside of the bus.
    4. The parents/guardians should clear the sidewalks of snow and ice to make the movement of the students to and from the bus safer and easier.
    5. Parent/guardian is responsible for the student until the student boards the bus.
    6. Parent/guardian/child care provider of the special needs student is responsible to assist the driver or aide at the pickup and drop off points.
    7. The parent/guardian is responsible to transport all medications to the school that a student takes during school hours. In those instances where this is not possible, arrangements to transport medication to the school must be made with the school principal and/or nurse.
    8. The parent/guardian should instruct the student on the safety rules of riding the bus and make them aware of their responsibilities for behavior.

Student Responsibilities
Students will:

  • Ride on assigned buses and embark/debark at assigned stops.
  • Conform to the same standards of conduct as expected of them in school. (Refer to Board Policies JK - Student Discipline, JIAA – Harassment and JFCE – Student Bullying.)
  • Obey the bus driver and aide.
  • Arrive on time at the designated bus stop. The bus will come to a full stop but will not wait for late arrivals.
  • Remain on the sidewalk or out of traffic lanes while waiting for the bus.
  • Respect the property of the residents while waiting at the bus stop.
  • Stand a safe distance from the curb and wait until the door is opened and the driver signals to enter the bus.
  • Remain seated while the bus is in motion.
  • Sit in designated seats if assigned.
  • Be quiet when the bus approaches a railroad crossing stop.
  • Wait to cross the street until after the driver signals and must be at least ten feet in front of the bus when crossing the street.

Students will not:

  • extend head or limbs out of the window.
  • throw anything out of the window.
  • use profane or indecent language or gestures.
  • bring animals or pets on the bus.
  • eat, drink, or use tobacco on the bus.
  • use emergency door except in cases of emergency or safety drills.
  • carry weapons, explosives, matches, or fireworks on the bus (Refer to SDCL 13-32-7)

In addition:

  • Student and parent/guardian shall be responsible for damage to the vehicle caused by the student.
  • Students with communicable disease will not be allowed to ride the bus.

These responsibilities may need to be adapted to the functioning level of special needs students. (Refer to Aide Responsibilities above.)

Discipline
Bus transportation for students is not a right, but a privilege, conditioned upon courteous behavior and obedience to the established rules. Bus safety requires the cooperation of all involved. For minor infractions of rules, the driver will give a verbal warning to the students involved. For repeated or major infractions, the driver will complete a student incident report and provide the report to the school principal. When necessary, building administrator(s) will be responsible for investigating and administering consequences for misconduct on the bus, according to the District’s progressive discipline plan, Policy JK/JK-R, which may include suspension of bus privileges.

Equipment

  1. Vehicle
    1. All school buses shall be well maintained and must meet requirements as set forth by the State of South Dakota.
    2. The District shall identify the type of vehicle needed to transport special needs students.
  2. Restraints
    Specially adapted seats, support, and/or protective devices shall be provided by the contractor for all students who need them. These devices shall be selected on the basis of the specific needs of the student and noted on their Individualized Education Program (IEP).

Bus Routes

  1. Pickup/Drop-off Points:
    1. Pickup points for students eligible for transportation will be approved by the District, taking into consideration the proximity of the school bus stop to the student's residence and the effect on the immediate neighborhood of the bus stop. Requests to change a student's pickup/drop-off point will be reviewed by the Transportation Office and approved or declined by the Business Manager, or designee. Students will not be picked up or discharged at intermediate points.
    2. Students are limited to two addresses, one pick up and one drop-off. The two addresses need not be the same, but must be within the geographical attendance area of the student’s school’s bus zones. The addresses must be established at the beginning of the school year, when the student is first enrolled, or reestablished at the time of a change in residence. Exceptions may be granted for extenuating circumstances if approved by the Business Manager or designee.
    3. Students will be picked up and dropped off at school at a point not requiring the crossing of any street.
    4. Students who are not eligible for transportation are not allowed to ride the bus for any reason.
    5. All requests to change transportation arrangements must be approved by the building principals and authorized by the Business Manager or designee.
  2. Travel Time
    1. Students shall ride on a bus a reasonable amount of time under normal weather and road conditions.
    2. Special needs of students as determined by a placement committee and addressed on the student’s IEP will be considered when establishing the length of ride on a bus.
  3. Arrival/Departure Times
    1. Schedules should be established to pick up students at a set time.
    2. Students shall be scheduled to arrive at school no earlier than ten minutes before the start of classes unless the school has a breakfast program, in which case students will be delivered 15 minutes prior to the start of school.
    3. At the close of the school day, buses will be scheduled to arrive at the school five minutes before the close of the last scheduled class whenever possible.
    4. The buses will depart from elementary schools five minutes after the students are dismissed and eight minutes after middle schools dismiss.
  4. Bus Route Schedules
    1. All routes used in transporting students will be drawn up by the contractor and approved by the District.
    2. All regular education routes will be prepared no later than one week prior to the start of the school year and will be available at school buildings and posted on the District website to inform parents/guardians and students. A copy of the established routes will be available throughout the school year as follows:
      1. In school buses.
      2. In each school served by bus transportation.
      3. In the contractor's office.
      4. In the District transportation office.
    3. Route Guidelines
      1. Routes will be developed in the most efficient way possible.
      2. Routes will be established with respect to the length of riding time in an effort to treat students equitably.
      3. Routes will be developed with regard to geographic location of the students and the assigned attendance centers.
      4. Routes will be developed with distance and time necessary to cover a specific area as primary factors.
      5. Routes will be developed with consideration of school/programs locations and grade level of students.
      6. Routes will be developed with consideration for the number of students and the bus capacity.
      7. Routes will be developed with safety as a primary concern.
      8. Routes will be developed according to school starting and dismissal times.

Complaint Process
Any parent/guardian who believes that the transportation services provided are not in compliance with these rules may utilize procedures in accordance with Policy KE – Public Concerns and Complaints.

Transportation complaints for students who receive transportation as a related service shall be handled as detailed in the District's Comprehensive Plan for Special Education.

 

Legal Reference:

SDCL
13-29 School Buses and Transportation of Students
13-30 Student Allowances in Lieu of Transportation
13-32 Supervision of Students and Conduct of School

Related Policies/Regulations

EBCE/EBCE-R – School Closings and Cancellations
JFCE – Student Bullying
JH/JH-R – Student Absences and Excuses
JIAA – Harassment
JK – Student Discipline
JKD/JKD-R – Suspension/Expulsion of Students
KE – Public Concerns and Complaints

 

Regulation   Board Action (formerly 3541, EEA-R)
Approved: 10-14-68 13178  
Revised: 07-14-69 13468  
Revised: 07-08-85 22227  
Revised: 08-11-86 22943  
Revised: 11-11-91 26523B  
Revised: 07-12-93 27381  
Revised: 11-13-00 29719.D10  
Revised: 06-12-06 34446  
Revised: 08-13-07 37811  
Revised: 08-22-11 36147  
Revised: 11-12-13 36768  
Reviewed: 09-25-17 37860
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