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Transportation Frequently Asked Questions

Updated August 2, 2023


 

  1. Who is eligible for receiving transportation in a public school district? 

    Laws and regulations govern how transportation is run in public schools.  N.J.S.A 18A:39-1 establishes that schools are required to provide transportation to students who live more than two miles from their elementary school (grades PK-8) and more than 2 1/2 miles for secondary (grades 9-12) students.   

    Students identified as in need of transportation as a part of their Individualized Education Plan (IEP) may receive transportation if they are less than the distance identified in law, however receipt of such transportation must be aligned to the students’ specific needs/disabilities and must be finalized with the district.  It may also require review of the district physician. 

    Students who attend County Vocational Technical schools are eligible for transportation from the school. 

 

  1. What do students attending private schools receive? 

    Laws and regulations govern how transportation is provided for students attending private schools.   N.J.S.A 18A:39-1 provides specific rules regarding such transportation.  Additional information related to non-public school transportation can be found on the NJDOE website.

 

  1. What is courtesy bussing?

    Courtesy bussing is when students who live less than the defined distance from the school are offered access to transportation free of charge. For example, families that live 1.9 miles from the school who have received bussing in the past have received courtesy bussing.

 

  1. What is subscription bussing?

    Subscription bussing is when students within the boundaries have the ability to pay for access to transportation with a charge, as set by the Board and in accordance with Board policy.

 

  1. What is the process for identifying students eligible for transportation? 

    First, as outlined in board policy, the Board of Education will annually approve the areas eligible for transportation. For the 2023-2024 school year, that will be shared at the meeting on August 28, 2023.  

    Second, when students register for school, they may inquire as to their eligibility for transportation.  New students who are determined eligible are immediately provided with information. Eligibility changes based on the school the student is attending.  A student who is eligible for transportation to Edward V. Walton Early Learning Center, may not be eligible for transportation to their next school(s). 

    Third, on an annual basis, the district plans and sets transportation routes prior to the start of a new school year.  Specifically, during the month of July students are identified who are moving to another school in the district, or who are new to the district.  Using that information, bus routes are created to provide effective and efficient transportation services.  While students are continually registering for school throughout the summer, routes are being developed in July. 

 

  1. Why is the district ending courtesy bussing in the 2023-2024 school year? 

    Due to the rising costs of transportation and an increase in students registering for school that are eligible for transportation, the district needed to closely review the current transportation routes.  We conducted an audit of all transportation routes and we identified individuals that were receiving transportation that fell within the boundaries identified above.  This was done after an extensive review of current transportation needs for in-district and out-of-district routes. Unfortunately, the district does not have sufficient number of busses and seats to offer transportation to all of the students that live within the boundaries. 

    In addition, the significant costs of out-of-district transportation have continued to increase dramatically, and effective use of our busses aligned to state law and regulations will ensure that we maximize the availability of district resources. 

    Finally, adding bus stops that are not otherwise eligible for bussing adds additional time to the current bus routes, having a significant impact on students.

 

  1. It seems like the district has plenty of buses- why not add a new route? 

    The district has been working to ensure that our buses meet the requirements of the state.  When it is necessary, a new route is added.  In our case, we have recently purchased a new bus to replace a bus that will be required to be taken out of service this year.  In addition, we are working to ensure that we have the appropriate busses with handicap accessibility, and with the appropriate seats for preschool-aged students.  Our busses also provide transportation for students attending Union County Vocational Technical school, athletics, field trips, and transport students to out-of-district schools. When necessary, the district contracts with transportation providers.  Current rates for a full school year range from $85,000 to over $150,000 for daily service provided by a contracted entity. Finally, the district has to employ drivers, and substitute drivers to ensure all of the current routes run as scheduled. 

 

  1. What if I am eligible for bussing but don’t need it?

    If your child is on a route, but you do not plan on utilizing the bus, it is very helpful to  communicate your plans with the district.  As a parent, you can waive transportation, allowing the district to better configure routes, and avoid stops that don’t have any students. Please reach out to the Student Transportation Coordinator for information related to waiving transportation.

 

  1. What does the district use to decide if a home is eligible? 

    The district has found that Google Maps is the overall most effective tool for mapping eligibility, as it includes the “walking” option.  The distance is not measured based on driving, or “as the crow flies” but rather based on the actual route available.  We also utilize MapQuest since it is run on a significantly different platform.

 

  1. What is a “hazardous route” and how are they determined? 

    A “hazardous route” is identified by the municipality.  Once designated a “hazardous route” a school district will be required to provide transportation to the school identified as a part of that route. 

 

  1. Who should I contact if I have questions? 

    Questions regarding transportation can be directed to Ms. Sandra Orejarena, Student Transporation Coordinator at sorejarena@springfieldschools.com

    Other resources with information regarding transportation: