The purpose of a transportation policy will be to ensure that student transportation services complies with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts General Laws and Regulations of the Department of Education and Registry of Motor Vehicles pertinent to transportation of students, as well as govern any areas not covered by specific declaration of policy.
- All special education preschool students are eligible for bus transportation. Peer model preschool students are not eligible for bus transportation.
- All children in kindergarten are eligible for bus transportation.
- All children in grades one through five who reside more than one (1) mile from the school which they are assignedto attend are eligible for bus transportation.
- All children in grade six through eight who reside more than one and one-half (1.5) miles from the school which they are assignedto attendare eligible for bus transportation.
- Under certain circumstances, preschool students andstudents in grades1-8who are not eligible may ride the bus on a space available basis. Approval for space available seating is granted by the Business Administrator, 978-632-1000. Please call the Business Administrator for further details. Space available seating is generally not approved until the end of September and is approved on a first come, first serve basis. Please note that buses are generally used to full capacity and this type of space available seating is very limited. An administrative charge of $100.00 per bus pass will be charged.
Riding Limits, Routes, and Bus Stops
Bus routes are established under the direction of the superintendent in cooperation with bus contractors so that an authorized bus stop is available within a reasonable walking distance of the home of every student entitled to transportation, and that distance does not exceed five-tenths of one mile for grades one through eight.
For kindergarten on the midday run, loading and unloading will be within sight of their residence.
Bus routes are structured so the total time a student spends on the bus is minimal.
Authorized bus stops are located at convenient intervals in places where students maybe loaded and unloaded, cross highways, and await arrival of buses with the utmost safety allowed by road conditions.
Administration of Program
The Superintendent of Schools is responsible for execution of transportation policy and regulations adopted to implement the policy.
Transportation contractors must submit a list of bus drivers and substitute drivers to the Superintendent of Schools for approval.
Bus contractors are subject to all statutes of Massachusetts governing buses, drivers, inspections, and licensing.
Supervision of Riders
Bus drivers are responsible for the safety of children riding to and from school. Bus drivers have full authority over the bus and its passengers en route to and from school.
Requirements of Contents
A copy of the bus route should be placed in each bus prior to the beginning of school. Emergency numbers (such as police, school, garage, hospital, and so on) must be posted ON each bus.
Recommended Bus Rules for Drivers
Any violations of the rules and regulations for student behavior on school buses must be reported at the end of each trip by the bus driver, who must obtain all pertinent information and report it to the school principal. The report should be forwarded to the school principal no later than the first day following the occurrence or incident. The principal will inform the bus driver of what action has been taken.
Drivers must not remove any child from a bus as a disciplinary measure.
Bus drivers have no authority to appoint students as bus monitors and must not do so. If repeated misbehavior problems arise, the driver should report each incident to the designated authority.
Suspension of a student from riding the bus must be administered by the proper authority, to wit: the school principal.
School principals may administer punishment when rule infractions are reported. Reports must be prompt, and punishment should be administered as soon as possible after it has been reported. All punishments must be reported to parents and noted on the copy of the Bus Behavior Report, which is returned and shown to the bus driver.
The Department of Education policy regarding the "measurable distances" provisions set forth in M.G.L. c.71, s. 68, is as follows:
The distance between a pupil's residence and the school the pupil is entitled to attend or the nearest school bus stop shall be measured from "portal to portal" over a commonly traveled route.
Portal to portal shall mean the sidewalk or public way in front or nearest to a pupil's home of residence to the entranceway of the school building the public is attending. Where there is more than one entranceway to the school building either entrance way may be used for measuring distances if both of the entrances are ordinarily accessible.
Commonly traveled route shall mean a sidewalk or public way, which, in the ordinary course, is open and accessible to pedestrian traffic.
The above definition of a "commonly traveled route" shall be used to determine and verify numbers of pupils being transported at least 2 miles from school, including instances where a school committee elects to transport pupils, because of hazardous/safety conditions, over a route other than a "commonly traveled route" as defined in our policy on "measurable distances." A public way is considered not open and accessible when a state (excluding Department of Education) or federal agency has officially excluded school transportation vehicles from using the route. School transportation vehicles are not required to travel over nonpublic ways (c.90). A public way is adopted and registered as such in the city or town (c.81).
Transportation for Homeless Children, Federal Law (McKinney Act)
Homeless children who are attending the school assigned to them by the local school district are entitled to the same school transportation that is offered to other children in that district. If homeless children are attending school in their attendance zone of origin and this is different from their attendance zone of temporary residence, the local school district is urged to transport them to/from their school of attendance; these transportation costs are reimbursable under the regular schedule of reimbursement from the state of Massachusetts.
Homeless children with special needs who wish to continue to attend their original school (even though they are living in another zone or district) and have transportation written into their Individualized Education Plan (IEP), must be transported from their temporary residence to their school of origin until the end of the school year.
In cases where a child is living in one school district and wishes to continue in his/her school of origin, which is in a different district, the school district providing the child's educational program shall make every effort to transport the child to/from school
If a district has made a good-faith effort to provide this inter-district transportation and is still not able to meet the child's transportation needs, the ultimate responsibility for getting the child to/from school lies with the child's parents.
Massachusetts Department of Elementary And SecondaryEducation
M.G.L. Chapter 71, Section 68; Chapter 71, Section 37H, Publication of School Committee Rules and Regulations Relative to the Conduct of Teachers and Students
M.G.L. Chapter 71, Section 47, Athletic Programs; School Organizations; Regulations
M.G.L. Chapter 71, Section 68, Duty of Towns to Maintain Schools; Pupil Transportation; School Building Committee Representation
M.G.L. Chapter 71B, Section 8, Transportation; Chapter 74, Section 8A, Transportation of Students
M.G.L. Chapter 76, Section 1, Regulation of School Attendance; Private School Transportation
[Adopted: April 1997]
[Approval: August 2000]
[Reviewed: December 2002]
[Revised: September 2004]
[Revised: June 2009]
[Revised: December 2009]
[Revised: May 2011]