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Student Transportation Handbook

    Table of Contents

    1. Eligibility/Ineligible School Bus Riders
    2. Day Care/Baby-Sitting
    3. Identification Cards
    4. Registration
    5. School Bus Disciplinary Plan
    6. Delivery of Students Receiving Modified Services
    7. Inclement Weather Schedule
    8. Bus Stops and Routes
    9. School Bus Rosters
    10. Evacuation Drills
    11. Transportation of Large Articles
    12. Parents'/Guardians' Responsibilities
    13. Student Responsibilities
    14. Activity Trips

    Eligibility/Ineligible School Bus Riders

    An Albuquerque Public School student will be provided transportation to his/her assigned school under the following criteria:

    • Grades K-5 (Elementary)
      A student whose registered address is one mile or more one-way from his/her assigned attendance center will be eligible for school bus transportation.
    • Grades 6-8 (Middle)
      A student whose registered address is one and one-half miles or more one-way from his/her assigned attendance center will be eligible for school bus transportation.
    • Grades 9-12 (High)
      A student whose registered address is two miles or more one-way from his/her assigned attendance center will be eligible for school bus transportation.

    A student will not be afforded transportation if attending a school outside his/her residence school unless specified by an Individualized Education Program (IEP).  Transportation for attendance at another school will be the responsibility of the parents/guardians unless specified by an IEP.

    Day Care/Baby-Sitting

    A student attending day care/baby-sitting facilities may be transferred if:

    1. The student's registered address meets the distance requirement for transportation to his/her home school,
    2. The facility is in the same school attendance zone as the student's residence,
    3. The facility is located the statutory distance from the school,
    4. There is space available on the school bus serving that route,
    5. Added equipment, cost, and/or mileage are not incurred,
    6. There is no change in the school bus route, and
    7. The pick-up location is consistent all five days of the week and the drop-off location is consistent all five days of the week.

    Identification Cards

    High school and middle school students issued a school identification card and eligible for school bus transportation are required to have the identification card in their possession and to display the card to any APS employee or school bus company employee upon request. The school bus driver may make discretionary checks of identification cards and will report any unauthorized passengers to an appropriate school administrator. If a student does not have the required identification card in his/her possession, the driver will not deny the student a ride unless the bus is at a school site and the principal/designee has been notified.

    Student Identification Card Requirements

    • Grades K-5 (Elementary): ID card not required
    • Grades 6-8 (Middle): ID card required
    • Grades 9-12 (High): ID card required

    Registration

    Students will be registered for transportation when registered for school. The home address entered in the SchoolMax System determines a student's eligibility for transportation. High School and Middle School students will be required to fill out a blank form and submit it to their bus driver to register on the bus. Elementary students will be given a pre-printed card distributed to the school sites that will be given to the bus driver. This information is needed for funding purposes and to ensure the students' safety in the even of an emergency. If a student receives modified transportation services, the IEP Committee and the parent/guardian will complete the transportation form during the IEP process every year.

    School Bus Disciplinary Plan

    Each school is required to develop its own disciplinary plan. The following plan is intended to serve as an example for school sites. The principal has the authority to suspend a student from the bus and to determine the length of the suspension.

    Disciplinary Plan

    When a principal/designee receives a school bus incident report, the administrator may use the following disciplinary plan:

    • 1st Offense: A warning to the student with a report to the parent/guardian will be issued. It is expected the parent/guardian will work with the student to help prevent a recurrence.
    • 2nd Offense: Disciplinary action will be taken at the discretion of the principal, depending on the seriousness of the infraction. A report to the parent/guardian will be made.
    • 3rd Offense: Suspension of riding privileges will result. The length of suspension will depend on the seriousness of the infraction. A report to the parent/guardian will be made.

    A different sequence in handling an incident may be selected.

    The driver has the authority to suspend a student from the bus for a maximum of one trip after the student has arrived at the assigned stop or school for inappropriate and dangerous behavior.

    Severe Disruption and Dangerous Behavior will result in immediate suspension of transportation privileges. This may include, but is not limited to the following:

    1. Physical harm to any student.
    2. Physical harm to the driver/attendant.
    3. Physical harm to the bus.
    4. Possession of a weapon.

    In addition to the suspension of transportation privileges, legal action against the student and/or parent/guardian may be taken.

    In the event a driver decides to suspend a student for one trip, the principal/designee and the student's parent/guardian must be notified before suspension begins.

    Students receiving modified transportation services may be suspended from the bus. Any suspension for more than 10 cumulative days per school year of a student with a current IEP must be reviewed by the IEP Committee (State of New Mexico Standards for Providing Transportation for Eligible Student, 2.11.3).

    If a student or parent/guardian of a student do not agree that the disciplinary consequences of bus riding behavior are fair or reasonable, a conference with the principal/designee or IEP Committee may be held. If a resolution is not reached, a conference may be held with the principal/designee's supervisor. Student Transportation Services (STS) staff may be used as a technical resource.

    Students who are suspended from the bus are not necessarily suspended from school. Transportation to and from school for students who are suspended from the bus is a parental responsibility.

    Delivery of Students Receiving Modified Services

    Local transportation providers will refer to the student's Confidential Emergency Information form when delivering a student receiving modified transportation services if the parent/guardian is not present to receive the student.

    1. If, on the transportation form, the parent/guardian has authorized that the student can be left unattended, the local transportation provider may leave the student at the delivery location.
    2. If the parent/guardian has not authorized that the student can be left unattended, the local transportation provider will not leave the student unattended.
      1. The local transportation provider will attempt to contact the student's parent or guardian at work or at other phone number provided, or call emergency contacts listed on the form.
      2. While attempting to make contact with the student's parents/guardians or the emergency contacts listed on the form, the local transportation provider may proceed on the designated route to deliver any other passengers onboard to their destinations and then return to the student's delivery location.
      3. If the transportation provider is still unable to make contact with the parents/guardians or with emergency contacts listed on the form, the provider will make an effort to transport the student back to the school, to the STS office, or to the APS Police office. Staff will accept the student and continue to attempt to contact the parents/guardians or the emergency contacts.
    3. If APS staff is unable to contact the parents/guardians or the emergency contacts, the student may be referred to the appropriate personnel for child protective services.

    Inclement Weather Schedule

    The most common use of the abbreviated day schedule occurs when severe weather causes street conditions which would endanger the safety of students going to school. The abbreviated day schedule is a shortened school day which begins two hours later than the regular schedule and ends at the regular time. Morning pick-up times will also be two hours later. Some schools may have different bell schedules. Please refer to your school for bell schedule information.

    On days where inclement weather causes a morning delay, there will be no AM class for the Developmental Delay Program (3/4 Pre-K), but PM classes will be on their regular schedule.

    This schedule also applies on Wednesdays.

    The decision to institute an abbreviated schedule will be made and announced through the news media no later than 5:30 a.m. Following the decision to implement an abbreviated schedule, weather conditions occasionally worsen to the point that it is necessary to close the schools. This announcement will be made no later than 7:00 a.m.

    Bus Stops and Routes

    1. Notes from parents/guardians or principals/designees authorizing the bus driver to drop off a student at a point other than his/her regular stop will not be permitted.
    2. Students will not be required to walk a greater distance to a bus stop than the walking distance for each grade level as specified by State Statute.
    3. When possible, bus stops will not be established within three city blocks of the transportation boundary. Reasonably placed stops will be determined at the discretion of STS and the transportation provider.
    4. STS will accept phone call requests to move bus stops when property damage is occurring at the stop location. All other requests to move or add bus stops to a route must be submitted to STS in writing.
    5. Complaints regarding route schedules or school bus stops will be addressed to either the transportation provider or STS. Complaints regarding discipline on board school buses will be addressed to the principal.
    6. Drivers will not transport any persons who are not students or approved school personnel assigned to their bus while making regular routes.
    7. Drivers will not give permission to anyone other than assigned students and/or approved school, transportation, emergency, or law enforcement personnel to board the bus.
    8. If a student is at an a.m. stop but is ineligible for transportation, the student will be given a ride to school, and the driver will notify the principal/designee.
    9. In the p.m. the bus driver will not be required to wait more than seven minutes after the dismissal bell has rung. The driver and/or attendant will not be allowed to leave the bus to search for unaccounted students. Once the bus departs, the driver will not stop in the loading zone or be expected to return to the school for students who are late for the bus.
    10. The driver will have the authority to assign students to seats.
    11. In consideration of student safety, live animals, unless specified in a student's IEP or 504 Accommodation Plan, will not be transported. Toys, items in glass containers, or other dangerous objects, as well as large articles which might block the aisle, the emergency door, or the service doors of a school bus, will not be permitted.

    School Bus Rosters

    School bus drivers will maintain a student roster and student seating chart for each school bus route under contract. Student rosters will contain the following information:

    1. First and last name of each student on the bus
    2. Each student's address and phone number
    3. Two emergency contact names and phone number

    Information contained on student roster sheets will remain confidential and in the school bus. Student rosters and seating charts will be made available to school officials and law enforcement officers upon request.

    Evacuation Drills

    Student emergency evacuation drills or an emergency evacuation demonstration will be conducted twice each school year for each route assigned to a school bus. STS personnel and school bus contractors will work with school administrators and teachers to develop emergency evacuation plans which will be effective for students whose disability may impede conventional methods of evacuation.

    Transportation of Large Articles

    In transporting large musical instruments, school projects, or other large articles, the following will apply:

    1. The driver will not permit the transportation of any item that will block the aisle or exits of the bus.
    2. No item will be placed in the driver's compartment.
    3. All items carried by a student will be under his/her control at all times.
    4. The size of an item should be such that it can be carried on the student's lap or on the floor of the bus; in either case, it will not extend beyond or above the height of the seat in front of the student. (The length of an instrument case cannot exceed 40 inches.)
    5. If space is available on board the bus, a large musical instrument may be allowed if only one student is assigned to one bench seat, if the instrument case does not extend beyond the height of the seat backs, and if the instrument case is placed on the floor next to the window on the school bus.
    6. Some students may need the assistance of oxygen or mechanical ventilation devices during their bus ride. All equipment used by students who are technologically dependent must be secured so that it does not become detached from the individual dispensing unit nor become a projectile in the event of an impact. Health plans for students who are technologically dependent will be attached to their modified transportation form.

    Parents'/Guardians' Responsibilities

    For safe riding on a school bus by their child, parents'/guardians' responsibilities include the following:

    1. Are expected to encourage their children to learn and obey the school bus safety rules and to exhibit appropriate student conduct as described in district documents pertaining to student transportation,
    2. Are responsible for instructing their children about their assigned bus stop and advising them to leave the bus only at their assigned stop,
    3. Are responsible to see that their children are at the assigned stop ten (10) minutes before the scheduled arrival of the bus,
    4. May be held responsible for any observed acts of vandalism of private property by their children while on the bus or at the bus stop location and restitution may be pursued by law enforcement agencies,
    5. Will not be transported to or from school on the school bus,
    6. Will arrange for their students to have physician-prescribed medication that is to be transported to school for use during the school day appropriately labeled and in a backpack or parcel to be kept in the student's possession during the route. No medication will be administered during the route by either the school bus driver or the attendant. Only health care providers accompanying students as specified in a 504 Accommodation Plan or the IEP will be authorized to administer physician-prescribed medication during transport.

    The parent/guardian of students who have been approved for modified transportation services will:

    1. Cooperate in the completion of the APS transportation form by providing emergency phone numbers and addresses of responsible persons to be contacted in case of an emergency such as illness, injury, or abbreviated school day due to inclement weather,
    2. Allow at least three to five working days to implement any changes in pick-up and/or drop-off locations. The driver is not allowed to change or modify a bus route,
    3. Have the student ready to board the bus at the assigned pick-up time,
    4. Cooperate by ensuring students have clean diapers if they are not toilet trained and that colostomy bags are not filled to capacity before boarding the bus. Transportation will not be provided for students who are soiled or have full bags before boarding the bus.
    5. Transport their student when exceptional situations arise which call for a deviation from established bus service (e.g., the student needs to be dropped off at a different address temporarily),
    6. Transport their student in the event of bus suspension,
    7. Make arrangements to have a responsible person meet the bus when it is indicated on the APS modified transportation form that a student cannot be left unattended,
    8. Notify the transportation provider in advance (one full school day, if possible) or signal the bus when it arrives in the event the student does not plan to attend school on a specific day.

    Modified transportation services should begin three to five school days after STS has received a completed transportation form from the IEP Committee. All affected parties will be informed if route reconfiguration will exceed five days.

    Student Responsibilities

    For safe riding on school buses the following are students' responsibilities:

    1. Students who are required to walk a distance to meet the bus should walk on the side of the road to their left facing traffic, except on divided or multi-lane roadways.
    2. Students must be at their regular bus stop ten (10) minutes prior to scheduled stop time. The bus driver will not wait for students who are not making an effort to reach the bus. Students receiving modified transportation services will be ready at the assigned pick-up time. In the p.m. the buses will depart from school seven minutes after the bell has rung.
    3. Students will exhibit safe and appropriate behavior when waiting for and boarding the bus.
    4. Students must follow the driver's and/or attendant's instructions promptly. When a principal/designee is on the bus, he/she is authorized to enforce student discipline, also.
    5. Students will not get on or off the bus while it is in motion. Students must remain seated and keep the aisle and exits clear.
    6. Students will occupy the seat assigned to them by the driver. If the bus is equipped with seat belts, students must wear them.
    7. Children who weigh less than 40 pounds will be transported in car seats properly attached to the seat by a seat belt.
    8. Students will not be permitted in the driver's compartment while the bus is in motion. Students will not tamper with any equipment on the bus.
    9. Students are not to engage in unnecessary conversation with the driver while the bus is in motion.
    10. Students will exhibit respect, act responsibly, be trustworthy, practice fairness, have a caring attitude, and display good citizenship while on the school bus.
    11. Students will not use profane language or make obscene gestures while on the bus.
    12. Students will cooperate with the bus driver in keeping the bus clean.
    13. Rough or boisterous conduct will not be permitted in the bus. Students will be absolutely quiet when the bus is approaching a railroad crossing and will remain quiet until the bus is safely across the tracks.
    14. Students will not eat any food or drink any beverage while being transported to or from school (with the possible exception of special needs students with IEPs).
    15. Students should remember that misconduct and/or carelessness endangers not only their won safety, but also the safety of the other students on the bus.
    16. Students will not extend their hands, arms, heads, or any objects out the bus windows.
    17. Weapons, explosives, breakable glass, or other dangerous objects are not permitted on the bus. Animals, except those animals authorized by an IEP or a 504 Accommodation Plan, are not permitted on the bus.
    18. No item that will block the aisle or is unsecured will be carried on the bus.
    19. Students will not open or close the bus windows without the permission of the bus driver.
    20. Students will not throw any item inside or outside the bus while boarding, riding or leaving the bus.
    21. The use, possession or distribution of tobacco, drugs, alcohol or any other controlled substance will not be permitted while on the bus.
    22. Students will not ride on the outside of the school bus at any time or attach any item to the bus.
    23. Students and parents/guardians will be held responsible for malicious destruction to the bus.
    24. Damage to the bus from any cause will be reported by passengers to the driver, and the driver will, in turn, report it to the proper school official.

    Activity Trips

    Only APS students, sponsors, and chaperones will be transported on school buses used for activity trips.

    Around every bus is a danger zone!

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