Transportation Frequently Asked Questions

The Transportation Department ofthe Decatur County School System provides approximately 6,000 students with daily, school-bus service. The mission of the Transportation Department is to deliver students to and from school in a safe and efficient manner so that they are ready to learn each day.

1. Who can ride the bus?

Bus service for students attending their zoned schools is provided from bus stops which are located on and outside 1 1/2 miles or more from the school. Any student may walk to the stop closest to his/her home.

If a student lives within the walking area for the home school, the designated stop will be at that school.

Bus service for students attending special education classes outside their home schools must be requested through the Special Education Center.

Parents may ride as chaperons on field trips if the school authorizes them to do so.

2. How are bus stops determined?

Bus stops are placed on and outside 1 1/2 miles from the school. Stops are designated by the Transportation Department and are placed at specific locations based on distance to the next stop and safety to the location for pickup.

Bus stops cannot be changed by the bus driver. Any requests for changes or additional stops must be made through the Transportation Department. A staff member will survey the area and notify the parent of the decision. This procedure usually takes about ten days.

3. Can the bus waitfor students to come to the bus stop?

Students should be at the bus stop at least five minutes before the scheduled pickup time. No bus can wait longer than one minute past the scheduled time for students.

4. What is the capacity of a school bus? Are students allowed to stand?

A standard school bus has a rated seating capacity of 72 with three students per seat. Bus routes are designed so that students will not have to stand; however, state law permits a 20 percent overage to allow for emergency situations until loads can be redistributed.

There are other types of school buses which have different seating capacities. Most of the smaller buses used in Decatur County seat 20 students. A few larger buses carry up to 90 students.

5. What type of training do school bus drivers have?

All school bus drivers in Decatur County have successfully completed a minimum o f48 hours of training. This includes 12 hours of classroom instruction and 40 hours on the road. All drivers receive instruction in student management using the assertive discipline plan, and all are trained in the operation of special equipment such as the hydraulic lift and wheelchair tiedowns. In addition, drivers participate in an annual evaluation of their driving skills (road-e-o) and attend mandatory safety meetings ten times during the year.

6. Who is responsible for discipline on the bus?

The bus driver has complete charge over the students on the bus. The rules of conduct are posted on each bus, and the driver reviews them with the students at the beginning ofeach school year. The driver will refer students who continue to violate these rules to the principal. The principal has the ultimate responsibility for administering to students whose bus behavior is dangerous or inappropriate and may suspend a student's riding privilege if it is deemed necessary.

7. What should students do if the bus does not show up on time?

Mechanical breakdowns occur from time to time, causing buses to run late. When this happens, the Transportation Department dispatches a backup bus as soon as possible. Students should remain at the bus stop, as the route will always be run.

8. Why do some students have to shuttle to get to school?

Decatur County's Special Education programs enable students to attend schools outside their home school attendance areas. Often there are many students in one neighborhood who attend different schools all over the county. The use of a shuttle system allows for pickup of these students by one bus. Distribution to the chosen schools take place from the shuttle point. This system provides the flexibility necessary for transportation to many different locations.

9. Can a student ride a different bus in the afternoon to go home with a friend?

Any request for an individual student to ride home on the bus with a fellow student should have a written request signed by parent and/or guardian and referred to the principal. Approval for these requests must be made on an individual be given to the driver and signed by the principal and/or designee. This service cannot be provided for large groups such as birthday parties, scouts, etc. Students in the Special Education program should make requests for special arrangements directly through the Transportation Department.

10. What items can a student take on the school bus?

Safety standards require that no student bring onto the bus any article which might create a hazard. Such articles include weapons of any kind, breakable or sharp objects, balloons, animals or insects. Band instruments and school projects can be transported if they can be held in the student's lap. No item can be transported which takes up seating space needed for other students or blocks the aisles or the emergency door.

11. Who answers questions involving school bus transportation?

Many questions can be answered at the local school. Each school has a copy of the bus schedules for students attending that school. Concerns about student discipline should be referred to the school principal. Questions on the status of requests for Special Education transportation should be directed to the Special Education Center.

Questions which cannot be answered elsewhere should be directed to the Transportation Department: 106 Spring Creek Road, telephone number 248-2204. For more information regarding specific programs please call the following numbers:

Regular Program 248-2200
Special Education 248-2238

For more information on bus breakdowns before 8:00 a.m., call 248-2204