Frequently Asked Questions
1. What determines a bus stop?
Answer: Our goal is to consistently identify bus stops in neighborhoods on the consideration of safety, efficiency, least cost and shortest over-all ride times. Bus stops are located at corners or intersections whenever possible and are usually central to where all of the students are coming from. This also allows the driver a wide area to scan for traffic and students. Some house stops are made on very busy roads or mid-way on long streets. We generally do not send buses into cul de sacs or dead end roads because of lack of safe access or the ability of the bus to turn around. If you believe your child's bus stop does not meet with this criteria and presents a safety hazard, please complete and submit the Bus Stop Change Request Form.
2. I can't see my child's bus stop. Can it be moved?
Answer: The School District provides transportation for 8,000 students to and from school each day. We are not able to position bus stops so that all parents or daycare providers are able to see the stop from their home. If you have concerns about your child's safety you are encouraged to accompany your child to the bus stop or arrange a neighborhood buddy to walk with your child.
3. The bus goes right by my house. Why can't it stop here?
Answer: School bus stops are placed in central locations to shorten route length and times.Transportation services makes every effort to see that these stops are safe and have appropriate walking routes to them. In many cases a bus will stop at a front door if there is no appropriate stop within a reasonable distance. By law, school buses must also have at least 100 feet or 300 feet between stops (determined by the posted speed limit). The higher frequency of stops made by the bus increases the dangers for an accident because of impatient motorists and increasing the number of stops, makes the student ride time longer.
4. Who has the authority to change my bus stop or route?
Answer: The School District's Transportation Department is the only authority who can make changes to bus routes and stops. School bus drivers do not have the authority to make changes to routes or student pickup/drop off locations. If you believe your bus stop is unsafe and/or does not fit the bus stop criteria set forth by the district, please fill out a "Bus Stop Change Request Form" after reading through the Bus Stop Procedures and Routing Criteria section and send it to the transportation office for review.
Answer: We are not able to route all buses so that children can board the bus from the door side. We recommend that children wait on the side of the street that they reside. The bus will stop traffic in all directions to accommodate students that need to cross the street to board the bus. You should instruct your child to wait for the driver's signal before crossing in front of the bus.
5. Why do some children cross the street to board the bus?
6. We live on a cul de sac. Will the bus come down our street?
Answer: Except to transport special education students, buses generally are not routed down cul de sacs because of the danger to small children and property while the bus is turning around or backing up in the small area.
7. What is the maximum length of time for a bus route?
Answer: We strive to establish route times so that no student will ride the bus for more than one hour one way. Unfortunately we can not always guarantee this will happen all the time.
8. My child is the only student using the bus stop. Can the stop be moved closer to our home?
Answer: Generally, bus stops are centrally located for all students. Bus stops are not changed to accommodate one or more students because that may displace other students further from their home. Even though other students living along the route may not be riding the bus, we must keep bus stops as they have been published. A central bus stop is necessary because other students may begin riding the bus or new families may move into the neighborhood. It is the responsibility of the parent to ensure that their child arrives safely at the bus stop.
9. Our neighborhood has no sidewalks and has hills and curves. Can we have an additional bus stop so our children do not have to walk to the existing stop?
Answer: With the large number of streets and bus stops in our school district, it is necessary for some students to walk on roads that have hills, curves and/or no sidewalks.
10. My child left a personal item on the bus. How does he get it back?
Answer: Drivers check their buses after every run. Items left by students are held by the driver for several days and may be claimed on the bus by the child. Fragile items are often taken out of the buses in the evening for their protection, but will be available the next morning. After several days the driver will make an effort to locate the owner. Unclaimed and unlabeled items are donated to charity. You can help by labeling all of your child's school belongings with the child's name and school. Please know the number of your child's bus, when inquiring about lost articles.
11. What should I do if the bus doesn't show up?
Answer: Pick up and drop off times will not vary to any great extent on a normal basis after the first two weeks of school. Circumstances beyond our control could make the bus late occasionally. Vehicle "break downs", impassable roads or emergencies are just a few reasons that could make the bus late. We will always make sure a bus will be at your stop. If the wait is longer than 15 minutes please contact transportation at (651) 982-8190.
Answer: Please call the Special Education Department at (651) 982-8131. They will contact the transportation office to arrange for special needs transportation.
12. My child is a Special Education student. Who do I contact to arrange transportation?
13. How do I know which activity bus my child should take?
Answer: Busing for after school activities will be provided for students in grades 7-12 who receive a signed activity route pass from the school. An activity bus schedule is posted at each secondary school. Students identify which bus they ride by locating the bus route which travels closest to there home. Bus stop locations for activity routes may differ from the bus stop locations for to and from school routes and may be up to half mile from home.
14. How will I know which bus my child takes?
Answer: Parents receive a mailing approximately one week before school starts each fall showing bus stop locations, bus numbers and times for the school your child attends.
15. I have young children at home and/or I leave home because of work.
Answer: In order to be consistent and fair in placement of bus stops, the school district is not able to establish stops based on personal circumstances.
16. My child needs to occasionally ride home to a different location. Is this possible?
Answer: Provided there is room on the bus, your student may get off at an alternate and currently established bus stop. You will need to send a written note with your child signed and dated by a parent or guardian. This note is good for one day and must include information on where we should bring your child. This note must be signed by a school administrator and given to the bus driver on the day they are riding.
17. I see buses that are not fully loaded. Can they be loaded to maximum capacity?
Answer: The School District covers approximately 240 square miles. In the outlying areas of the District, buses have to travel significant distances between the route areas and to and from school. In many cases, buses in these outlying areas are unable to be loaded to maximum capacity due to time and distance constraints.
Answer: Only under unusual circumstances would more than one bus be driving down the same street picking up students going to the same school. One exception would be addressing an overloaded bus with another bus going to the same school in a densely populated area.Other exceptions may include:
18. Why is there more than one bus coming down our street?
- Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) students, who are entitled by law to transportation to a school of their choice
- Spanish Immersion students, as approved by the school board
- Enrollment Exception students approved by the district administration to attend a school outside their resident boundary
19. I see buses leaving schools with only a few students on board. Can this route be combined with another?
Answer: All secondary regular education buses carry students from different schools. For example, a bus dropping first in the morning at the middle school may unload students needing to shuttle to the Education Center, St. Peter’s, North Lakes Academy, Lakes International Language Academy. Those buses still have students remaining on board that go to the Senior High, so the load count is minimal for that short distance. The opposite is true in the afternoon when students are shuttled to the Senior High to board their take-home bus.
Answer: A few years ago a private consulting firm conducted an independent and objective study of all facets of our transportation department. The study included operations, finances, bus utilization, service qualities and analyzed route efficiency. The study concluded that "the district provides the most cost efficient service available.”
20. Why does the District operate its own fleet of buses?