Bus Stop Process and Procedures

The South Washington County Schools District #833 is committed to providing safe and efficient school bus transportation to its students. We have a long tradition of providing this service safely to all students that are eligible under Minnesota State laws, rules and regulations. The State of Minnesota currently requires transportation services for students who reside more than 2 miles from school. South Washington County Schools generally provides transportation to Elementary students (k-6) who live more than 1-mile (5280 feet) from the school, Junior High Students more than 1.5 miles and High School students more than 2 miles from the school the student attends. Students that attend a school other then their assigned school through open enrollment and whose parent/guardian have signed a waiver of transportation are not eligible for this transportation regardless of the distance. The following will outline the services we provide and explain how we comply with laws and rules that pertain to school bus transportation.
  1. Goal

Our goal is to provide safe, reliable and efficient transportation to the students that reside within the boundaries of the school district, within the constraints of a limited and regulated budget, so when students arrive at school they are ready to learn.

  1. General Information
  1. Walking Areas

Traffic safety factors and distance are two primary criteria used to establish walking areas to schools. The walking area is determined by measuring a distance (1 mile = 5,280 feet) from the street in front of a school driveway to the street in front of a resident’s driveway, using the most direct route as determined by the Transportation Director.

  1. Bus Stops

Bus stops will be located at corners or intersections, whenever possible. The designated area that students wait for the bus must be within a bus length to the corner (about 40 feet). The bus driver will designate this area to the students after the first day. This may change during the year. Stopping at corners or intersections is safer due to the expectations of traffic. When a bus stops mid-block it can confuse motorists, whereas traffic anticipates the bus will stop or yield at intersections. It also provides the driver or substitute driver a landmark (intersection) to identify prior to making the stop so the eight-lamp system can be properly activated to warn the public. This also allows the driver to scan the area for students when approaching the intersection. State law and School Board Policy states students can walk up to one mile to a bus stop.

Bus Stop Change Request

Read through the following information before making a route change request. If you feel you have a request that does not meet the criteria, please call our route change hotline at 768-5310. The hotline is in operation from mid August to Mid October. After each request is reviewed, someone from the Transportation Department will notify you of our decision. Please listen carefully to the instructions and leave a daytime phone number. This may take from 3-5 days to process and return your call. Calling numerous times in a short period of time only delays the process.

School bus drivers do not have the authority to change bus routes or student stops.

Bus Stop Criteria

    1. School buses will use the eight-light system and stop arm at all stops in the South Washington County School District unless the exception is made in policy or the stop is documented with an explanation. In order to properly operate the eight-light system, no bus stop will be made within 300 feet of one another.
    2. Buses serving students with disabilities may stop while using their 4-way hazard lights only at house stops where it takes an extended period of time to load/unload the student. . At these stops the bus will pull over to the curb at the driveway and student will not be allowed to cross the roadway. Buses will not go into the student’s driveway, unless prior approval has been given due to the hazard of backing out. The bus horn will not be used to announce arrival.
    3. Buses will not generally travel down cul-de-sacs unless the vehicle is picking up handicapped children. Backing a school bus is a dangerous maneuver. A full-sized bus needs 115 feet to safely turn and most cul-de-sacs are only 90 feet wide.
    4. Unless prior approval has been given and transportation has approved, no school bus will travel on private roads.
    5. Bus stops should be located with clear visibility for 300 feet in both directions. Stops in a residential area where the speed limit is less than 35 mph or less may not be located within 100 feet of each other.
    6. Stops in or out of residential areas where the speed limit is 35 mph or greater may not be located within 300 feet of each other.
    7. School Buses may load/unload in right-turn lanes if pre-approval has been given. Eight-way lights or 4-way hazard lights will not be used and students must not cross the road.
    8. There is not a fixed number of students that warrant adding or moving a stop. All stops are determined on an individual basis.
    9. Visibility from the home to the bus stop is not part of the criteria for establishing bus stops.
    10. Stranger-Danger criteria are used only under documented persisting or current cases that public safety can verify.
    11. The bus driving by does not warrant adding or changing a stop. The higher frequency of stops can make the motoring public "impatient’ and cause drivers to drive around the bus causing greater safety concern than the distance a student has to walk to the bus stop. It also delays the bus, making the overall student time on the bus longer.
  1. Bus Routes

Bus routes are arranged according to geographic area and stops are assigned from 1-3 blocks of a student’s home whenever possible. Mid-day kindergarten stops are routed separately and generally are closer than regular AM and PM. Students that attend a school whose boundaries cover a larger geographic area (i.e. Valley Crossing, Math and Science Academy, non-publics), or the entire School District, will be assigned to a station stop. Station stops are assigned based on the number of students in an area or neighborhood. They are generally within 2-4 blocks of a student’s home. Station stops are important to these routes to keep the rider time at a minimum. State guidelines recommend that no student ride the bus more than 1 hour each way every day. The bus route and/or stops may change from year to year based on student population.

  1. Bus Ridership

Students will be sent bus stop information before the start of school each year. Students must ride the bus that they are assigned and ride the same bus to and from school unless prior approval from the Transportation Department has been given. Bus route numbers and animal pictures will be placed in the side window of each bus to be used for afternoon routes only. At the discretion of the bus driver, students may be assigned seats at any time. Students will be expected to abide by all the school bus safety rules, which are posted in every bus. Students in grades K-10 must also attend school bus safety training within the first 6 weeks of school every year. This is scheduled during the school day. The results of this training must be reported to the State of Minnesota.

  1. Nonpublic Students

Minnesota Statute 123.79 requires the school district to provide equal services to nonpublic students in the South Washington County Schools geographic boundaries.

Students who are attending out district schools will be provided transportation services to the boundary, or they will be reimbursed the same amount that the State pays the District. The parents/school, as a group, must decide if they want transportation or the reimbursement. The District will not provide transportation to some and reimbursement to other students from the same school. The Department of Children, Family and Learning determines the amount of reimbursement.

  1. Daycare Service

The following daycare information will apply.

  1. The Transportation department will regard a student’s daycare location as their residence for the purpose of transportation if requested by the parent/guardian. It is necessary that the daycare be located in the same school attendance area as the child is attending and in the case of kindergarten, the same AM or PM designated area. Transportation will be provided from the student’s home or daycare.
  2. The pickup and drop-off bus stop may not vary from day to day but must be the same location every morning and every afternoon. Only the following will be considered;
    1. Pickup at home, drop off at home,
    2. Pickup at home, drop off at daycare,
    3. Pickup at daycare, drop off at daycare,
    4. Pickup at daycare, drop off at home.
  1. It is imperative that the parent/guardian provide the Transportation Department with the daycare information by July 1 each year for the upcoming school year. This allows the department to establish routes as accurately as possible.