It is the intent of the Board to comply with the letter and spirit of the New York State Education Law; with the regulations of the Department of Motor Vehicles and of the Department of Transportation and with the Commissioner of Education’s regulations and decisions pertinent to student transportation, and these will govern any questions not covered by specific declaration of policy herein.
The purposes of the transportation program are to transport students to and from school, to transport them for extracurricular activities, to transport them on field trips, and to transport those requiring special services.
The Board recognizes and assumes the responsibility for all aspects of the transportation of children wherein the health and safety of students are involved, for the Board has a legal obligation to safeguard the welfare of bus-riding children.
Scheduling and Routing
Bus routes are authorized by the Board and any requests for a change must be submitted to the Superintendent or designee.
Transportation services will be provided to meet the needs of the students of the District within specified limits and areas established by the Board.
Posting of School Bus Schedules
While posting of school bus schedules online is certainly convenient, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) warns that doing so can pose risks of child abductions, terrorist attacks and other unwanted scenarios. Online school bus schedules are accessible to anyone, thus raising the following risks:
a) Enabling a non-custodial parent to illegally take custody of a child once they have easy access to the child’s unsupervised whereabouts;
b) Enabling a sexual predator to take advantage of the same situation. Also, such information would reduce the need for predators to target victims at schools, where they are more likely to be noticed; and
c) Enabling an act of terrorism or school assault by allowing for multiple targets and optimal hostage situations.
The District will either mail schedules directly to parents or have parents pick up schedules at school. Should the District wish to post school bus schedules online, access to the schedules will be password protected.
Education Law Sections 1501-b, 3602(7), 3620-3628, 3635 and 3636
TRANSPORTATION OF STUDENTS
Requests for Transportation to and from Nonpublic Schools
The parent or person in parental relation of a parochial or private school child residing in the District who desires that the child be transported to a parochial or private school outside of the District during the next school year should submit a written request to the Board no later than April 1 of the preceding year, or within 30 days of moving into the District. No late request of a parent or person in parental relation will be denied where a reasonable explanation is provided for the delay.
Transportation to Nonpublic Schools on Holidays
When a holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the Board may choose to close on Friday or Monday in observance of the holiday. Schools that close may provide pupil transportation. However, if the District has not shared its calendar and informed nonpublic schools that it will not transport on the optional holiday, the District is required to provide pupil transportation services on that day to nonpublic schools that are open.
Transportation for Nonpublic School Students with Disabilities who are Parentally Placed
For students with disabilities (ages 5 through 21) who are parentally placed in nonpublic schools outside their district of residency, if special education services are to be provided to a student at a site other than the nonpublic school, the school district of location is responsible for providing the special education services, including, as applicable, arranging and providing transportation necessary for the student to receive special education services. The proportionate share of IDEA Part B dollars could be used for such purpose.
The school district of residence remains responsible to provide transportation to parentally placed nonpublic school students from the student’s home to the nonpublic school.
Transportation of Students with Disabilities
Students with disabilities in the District will be transported up to 50 miles (one way) from their home to the appropriate special service or program, unless the Commissioner certifies that no appropriate nonresidential special service or program is available within 50 miles. The Commissioner may then establish transportation arrangements.
Any mode of transportation used on a regular basis to transport students with a disability on a regularly scheduled route will, upon written consent of the parent or person in parental relation, have maintained on such mode of transportation the following information about each student being transported:
a) Student’s name;
b) Nature of the student’s disability;
c) Name of the student’s parent, guardian or person in a position of loco parentis (person in parental relation) and one or more telephone numbers where such person can be reached in an emergency; and/or
d) Name and telephone number of any other person designated by such parent, guardian or person in a position of loco parentis as a person who can be contacted in an emergency.
Such information will be used solely for the purpose of contacting such student’s parent, guardian, person in a position of loco parentis, or designee in the event of an emergency involving the student, will be kept in a manner which retains the privacy of the student, and will not be accessible to any person other than the driver or a teacher acting in a supervisory capacity. In the event that the driver or teacher is incapacitated, such information may be accessed by any emergency service provider for such purpose.
Such information will be updated as needed, but at least once each school year and will be destroyed if parental consent is revoked, the student no longer attends such school, or the disability no longer exists.
Herein the term “disability” will mean a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of the student, whether of a temporary or permanent nature.
School buses manufactured on or after January 1, 1990 fueled with other than diesel fuel and used to transport three or more students who use wheelchairs or other assistive mobility devices or with a total capacity of more than eight passengers and used to transport such students will be equipped with an automatic engine fire extinguishing system.
School buses manufactured on or after September 1, 2007 fueled with diesel fuel and used to transport three or more students who use wheelchairs or other assistive mobility devices or with a total capacity of more than eight passengers used to transport such students will be equipped with an automatic engine fire extinguishing system.
The purchase of automatic engine fire extinguishing systems for school buses used to transport such students will be deemed a proper school district expense.
Transportation of Non-Resident Students
Non-resident families must provide their own transportation.
Transportation to School-Sponsored Events
Where the District has provided transportation to students enrolled in the District to a school-sponsored field trip, extracurricular activity or any other similar event, it will provide transportation back to either the point of departure or to the appropriate school in the District unless the parent or legal guardian of a student participating in such event has provided the District with written notice, consistent with District policy, authorizing an alternative form of return transportation for such student or unless intervening circumstances make such transportation impractical. In cases where intervening circumstances make transportation of a student back to the point of departure or to the appropriate school in the District impractical, a representative of the District will remain with the student until such student’s parent or legal guardian has been contacted and informed of the intervening circumstances which make such transportation impractical; and the student has been delivered to his or her parent or legal guardian.
Transportation in Personal Vehicles
Personal cars of teachers and staff will not be used to transport students except in the event of extenuating circumstances and authorized by the administration.
Education Law Sections 1604, 1709, 1804, 1903, 1950, 2503, 2554, 2590-e, 3242, 3602-c, 3621(15),
3623-a(2c), 3635, 4401-a, 4401(4), 4402, 4404, 4405, and 4410-6
Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 375(20)(1) and 375(21-i)
SCHOOL BUS SAFETY PROGRAM
The safe transportation of students to and from school is of primary concern in the administration of the school bus program. All state laws and regulations pertaining to the safe use of school buses will be observed by drivers, students and school personnel.
To assure the safety and security of students boarding or exiting school buses on school property, it will be unlawful for a driver of a vehicle to pass a stopped school bus when the red bus signal is in operation.
The Transportation Supervisor, in cooperation with the principals, has the responsibility of developing and publishing safety rules to be followed by drivers and passengers, including rules of student conduct. In order to ensure maximum safety to those riding school buses, it is necessary that students and drivers cooperate in this effort. There is no substitute for training to develop safe habits in pedestrian and vehicular traffic.
All buses and other vehicles owned by vendors/contract bus companies with whom the District contracts will have frequent safety inspections and be serviced regularly. The Transportation Supervisor will maintain a comprehensive record of all maintenance performed on each vehicle.
Every bus driver is required to report promptly any school bus accident involving death, injury, or property damage. All accidents, regardless of damage involved, must be reported at once to the Transportation Supervisor by the vendors/contract bus companies.
Education Law Section 3623
Vehicle and Traffic Law Sections 509-a(7), 509-1(1-b), 1174(a) and 1174(b)
8 New York Code of Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) Section 156.3
IDLING SCHOOL BUSES ON SCHOOL GROUNDS
The Board recognizes the need to promote the health and safety of District students and staff and to protect the environment from harmful emissions found in bus and vehicle exhaust. In accordance with Education Law and Commissioner’s regulations, the District will minimize, to the extent practicable, the idling of all school buses and other vehicles owned or leased by the District while such bus or vehicle is parked or standing on school grounds or in the front of any school. This policy also applies to contractor owned and operated school buses under contract with the District.
The District will ensure that each driver of a school bus or other vehicle owned, leased or contracted for by the District turn off the engine of the bus or vehicle while waiting for passengers to load or off load on school grounds, or while such vehicle is parked or standing on school grounds or in front of or adjacent to any school.
Unless otherwise required by State or local law, the idling of a school bus or vehicle engine may be permitted to the extent necessary to achieve the following purposes:
a) For mechanical work; or
b) To maintain an appropriate temperature for passenger comfort; or
c) In emergency evacuations where necessary to operate wheelchair lifts.
Private Vendor Transportation Contracts
All contracts for pupil transportation services between the District and a private vendor that are entered into on or after August 21, 2008, will include a provision requiring such vendor’s compliance with the provisions of reducing idling in accordance with Commissioner’s Regulations Section 156.3(h).
Education Law Section 3637
Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 142
8 New York Code of Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) Section 156.3(h)
QUALIFICATIONS OF BUS DRIVERS
A person will be qualified to operate a bus only if such person:
a) Is at least 21 years of age;
b) Has been issued a currently valid operator’s or commercial driver’s license which is valid for the operation of a bus in New York State;
c) Has passed the annual bus driver physical examination administered in accordance with regulations of the Commissioner of Education and the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles. In no case will the interval between physical examinations exceed a thirteen-month (13) period;
d) Is not disqualified to drive a motor vehicle under Vehicle and Traffic Law Sections 509-c and 509-cc and any other provisions of Article 19-A;
e) Has on file at least three statements from three different persons who are not related to the driver/applicant pertaining to the moral character and to the reliability of such driver/applicant;
f) Has completed, or is scheduled to complete, State Education Department safety programs as required by law;
g) Is in compliance with federal law and regulations, as well as District policy and/or regulations, as it pertains to meeting the standards governing alcohol and controlled substance testing of bus drivers if and when applicable;
h) Has taken and passed a physical performance test at least once every two years and/or following an absence from service of 60 or more consecutive days from his or her scheduled work duties; and
i) Is in compliance with all other laws and regulations for operating a school bus, including licensing and training requirements.
Special Requirements for New Bus Drivers
Before a vendor/contract bus company employs a new bus driver, the Superintendent or designee will be entitled to:
a) Require such person to pass a physical examination within four weeks prior to the beginning of service;
b) Obtain a driving record from the appropriate agency in every state in which the person resided, worked, and/or held a driver’s license or learner’s permit during the preceding three years;
c) Investigate the person’s employment record during the preceding three years;
d) Require such person to submit to the mandated fingerprinting procedures/criminal history background check;
e) Request the Department of Motor Vehicles to initiate a driving record abstract check; and
f) Require that newly hired bus drivers take and pass the physical performance test, as mandated by Commissioner’s regulations, before they transport students.
Under Commissioner’s regulations, an occasional driver is defined as a certified teacher employed by a school district or Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) who is not primarily employed as a school bus driver or substitute bus driver on either a full-time or part-time basis. Occasional drivers used for other than regular routes are not required to fulfill the training required for regular school bus drivers.
Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act of 1991, (Public Law 102-143)
49 United States Code (USC) Section 521(b)
49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Parts 40, 382, 391, 392 and 395
Education Law Section 3624
Vehicle and Traffic Law Sections 509-c, 509-cc and Article 19-A
8 New York Code of Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) Section 156.3
15 New York Code of Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) Part 6
DRUG AND ALCOHOL TESTING FOR SCHOOL BUS DRIVERS AND OTHER SAFETY-SENSITIVE EMPLOYEES
In accordance with federal regulations, employees in safety-sensitive positions as defined in regulations who are required to have and use a commercial drivers license (CDL), are subject to random testing for alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, opiates (including heroin), and phencyclidine (PCP). The District will adhere to federal law and regulations requiring the implementation of a drug and alcohol testing program for such employees in safety-sensitive positions.
The District will ensure that vendors/contract bus companies either establish and manage their own program, by contract, or through a consortium for the provision of alcohol and drug testing of employees in safety-sensitive positions. Safety-sensitive employees (SSEs), including school bus drivers and other employees, who drive a vehicle which is designed to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver), will be subject to this requirement.
Federal regulations require that school bus drivers and other SSEs be tested for alcohol and drugs at the following times:
a) Drug testing will be conducted after an offer to hire, but before actually performing safety-sensitive functions for the first time. Such pre-employment testing will also be required when employees transfer to a safety-sensitive position.
b) Safety-sensitive employees are also subject to a random drug and/or alcohol test on an unannounced basis just before, during or just after performance of safety-sensitive functions.
c) In addition, testing will be ordered if a trained supervisor has a “reasonable suspicion” that an employee has engaged in prohibited use of drugs and/or alcohol.
d) There will also be post-accident testing conducted after accidents on employees whose performance could have contributed to the accidents.
e) Finally, return-to-duty and follow-up testing will be conducted when an individual who has violated the prohibited alcohol and/or drug conduct standards returns to performing safety-sensitive duties. Follow-up tests are unannounced and at least six tests must be conducted in the first 12 months after an employee returns to duty. Follow-up testing may be extended for up to 60 months following return-to-duty.
All employee drug and alcohol testing will be kept confidential and will only be revealed without the driver’s consent to the employer, a substance abuse professional, drug testing laboratory, medical review officer and any other individual designated by law.
The following alcohol and controlled substance-related activities are prohibited by the Federal Highway Administration’s drug use and alcohol misuse rules for drivers of commercial motor vehicles and other SSEs:
a) Reporting for duty or remaining on duty to perform safety-sensitive functions while having an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or greater. If testing shows an alcohol concentration of 0.02 or greater but less than 0.04, the employee must be removed from performing safety-sensitive activities for 24 hours, but no punitive action will be taken by the employer.
b) Being on duty or operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) while the driver possesses alcohol, unless the alcohol is manifested and transported as part of a shipment. This includes the possession of medicines containing alcohol (prescription or over-the-counter), unless the packaging seal is unbroken.
c) Using alcohol while performing safety-sensitive functions.
d) New York State law prohibits using alcohol six hours or less before duty.
e) When required to take a post-accident alcohol test, using alcohol within eight hours following the accident or prior to undergoing a post-accident alcohol test, whichever comes first.
f) Refusing to submit to an alcohol or controlled substance test required by post-accident, random, reasonable suspicion or follow-up testing requirements.
g) Reporting for duty or remaining on duty, requiring the performance of safety-sensitive functions, when the SSE uses any controlled substance. This prohibition does not apply when instructed by a physician who has advised the SSE that the substance does not adversely affect the SSE’s ability to safely operate a CMV.
h) Reporting for duty, remaining on duty or performing a safety-sensitive function, if the SSE tests positive for controlled substances.
Drivers and other SSEs who are known to have engaged in prohibited behavior with regard to alcohol misuse or use of controlled substances are subject to disciplinary action and penalties in accordance with District policy, the vendors’/contract bus companies’ policies and collective bargaining agreements, as well as the sanctions provided for in federal law. SSEs who have engaged in such prohibited behavior will not be allowed to perform safety-sensitive functions until they are:
a) Evaluated by a substance abuse professional (SAP).
b) Complete any requirements for rehabilitation as set by the District and the SAP.
c) Pass a return-to-duty test with the result below 0.02 if the conduct involved alcohol, or a controlled substance test with a verified negative result if the conduct involved controlled substance use.
d) The SSE will also be subject to unannounced follow-up alcohol and controlled substance testing. The number and frequency of such follow-up testing will be as directed by the SAP, and consist of at least six tests in the first 12 months.
The Superintendent will ensure that each vendor/contract bus company receives a copy of District policy, educational materials that explain the requirements of the alcohol and drug testing regulations, and any regulations and/or procedures developed by the District with respect to meeting those requirements. The Superintendent or designee will ensure that a copy of these materials is distributed to each vendor/contract bus company, and the vendor/bus company will sign for receipt of all of the above documents, as well as other appropriate personnel, prior to the start of alcohol and controlled substance testing as well as at the beginning of each school year or at the time of hire for any safety-sensitive employees.
The Superintendent or designee can assist vendors/contract bus companies with arrangements for training of all supervisors who may be utilized to determine whether “reasonable suspicion” exists to test a driver for prohibited conduct involving alcohol or controlled substance use/abuse.
Any significant violation of this policy and/or District procedures, and applicable federal and state laws by vendors/contract bus companies and other employees will result in revocation of their contract for the transportation of students.
Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act of 1991 (Public Law 102-143) 49 United States Code (USC)
Sections 31136 and 31306
49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Parts 40, 172, 382, 383, 391, 392 and 395
Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 509-L