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Parent Frequently Asked Questions

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Is my child eligible for transportation?

In order to be eligible for school bus transportation, a student must be legally enrolled in a District school and have his/her permanent residence 1 mile or more from his/her elementary school, 1.5 miles or more from his/her middle school, or 2 miles or more from his/her high school. The distance is measured by the nearest traveled route over which a pedestrian can walk to the nearest entrance to the school. A student may also be eligible for transportation when the student's physical, mental, or emotional impairment requires that special transportation be provided as determined by the Individual Education Plan committee. Students approved to attend a school as part of the Districts School Choice plan may be eligible for limited transportation services. School Choice student transportation is requested via the School Choice Transportation Form available HERE.

Whom should I call if the bus does not arrive on time?

After ten (10) minutes you should call the school or the transportation department at (850) 469-5591/5490.

What information should I have ready when I call?

You should know your child's bus number as well as the school, child's name, and stop location.

What are the hours of operation at Transportation?

The dispatch area is staffed from 5am until 6pm on school days. Scheduling, administration, safety, and training are available from 7am until 4pm.

Will my child have the same driver every day?

Your child may have different drivers for the AM, mid-day, and PM routes. This is necessary since most drivers provide service for at least two trips during every shift. In addition, the variety of school programs and calendars has a significant impact on bus operator assignments. Similarly, some of the students receiving transportation services change addresses and levels of service, and this has an effect on bus operator assignment. When these factors are combined with the limited vehicles, operators, and a variety of contractual constraints, a single student route change can create a "domino effect" and impact several routes and drivers. Please be assured that every effort is made, while accounting for these factors, to keep driver changes to a minimum.

Can the driver stop at my house to pick up or drop off my child?

Only certain students, whose needs are addressed through ESE, are eligible for curbside service. This service is typically restricted to situations where a less restrictive environment is not possible or where medical issues require this type of service.

For other students, service is provided in accordance with distance guidelines that assures a maximum travel to the stop of 1/2 mile for elementary students and 1 mile for secondary students. Please note, these guidelines only apply to eligible students. Students riding on a space available basis may only use an existing stop (see walking distance for additional information). Within these guidelines, every effort is made to improve route efficiency by clustering students to stops and, where possible, providing service on major streets.

Can I require that my child only be released to me at the bus stop?

Only certain designated students, whose needs are addressed through an IEP or 504 plan, are eligible for "must be met" service (see info for additional information). For all other students the parent/guardian is responsible for meeting the bus if they deem it appropriate.

To whom should I report my address or telephone number change?

The school should be contacted as soon as possible with address or telephone number change information. Once they have properly recorded this change into the district's database it will take approximately three weeks to implement transportation service changes if appropriate.

Why is the bus late and why wasn't I called?

Some of the situations that could cause lateness include traffic, road closures, weather, vehicle breakdowns or a late prior route. Since we operate several hundred buses every day several times each day, it is virtually impossible to contact parents when the bus is slightly late. However, we are in radio contact with all of our buses and when we determine the bus will be 30 or more minutes late, we attempt to contact the parent/guardian.

How will I be notified of a change to my child's stop time (or stop location)?

The Transportation Department prints a TS (transported student) form every time a student's stop assignment or time changes. These are distributed to the school sites for distribution to the students. You should receive this information in the same manner you receive other information from your school site.

I got home late (in PM) and I cannot find my child. The school is closed (no answer). What do I do? [top]

A call to the transportation department is usually the best option in these circumstances. "Must be met" students are usually returned to school if they are not met.

If the student is not a "must be met" student, our transportation staff can assist others in locating your child.

I have a question regarding a bus stop location or pick up/drop time. Who should I call?

Please contact your school first. Each site has a transportation liaison responsible for coordinating service with the Transportation Department. These liaisons are trained to answer most bus service questions. If the liaison does not know the answer to your question they probably know who to contact and can probably get back to you with an answer. On rare occasions the site liaison cannot help you. In that case, please contact the Transportation Department.

If my child uses a wheelchair what do I need to know?

Wheelchairs are transported on Escambia School District school buses in a forward facing position. If it is possible for your child to transfer to a bus seat, we will do so at your request. If transported in a chair, the chair must have working brakes and functioning footrests, the seat and back of the chair must be properly attached to the chair, the harness and/or trunk support system must be attached and the lap-belt must be "auto" quality and not Velcro. In addition, lap trays, if used by the student, must be removed and stored during transportation. The driver will be responsible for this as well as all other securement issues. Finally, we remind our drivers that even if the child is independent, the driver or attendant should still be the one wheeling the chair onto the lift. We ask that power chairs be put in the manual position when possible.

If my child uses a car seat on a school bus, what do I need to know?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued guidelines regarding the safe transportation of this age population in a school bus. Based on its research, NHTSA has determined that these children are safest on a school bus when transported in a child restraint safety system or car seat device. The car seats used must be certified and not have been involved in a crash or subject of a recall. To ensure that the seats meet all these criterion, the district, when possible, will provide the seat for the child. If the parent is using their own seat, district personnel will ensure that the seat meets all the necessary certifications. The transportation provider is responsible for ensuring the seat is secured properly in the school bus. If you have any questions regarding your child's car seat, please contact our offices.

Where is the lost & found for the buses?

Have your student ask the driver about items left on the school bus.

Is my child eligible for transportation to school?

School district policy and Florida Statutes determine who is eligible for transportation according to the distance from which they live from their school, and their grade level.

  • Elementary minimum safe walking distance is approximately one mile
  • Middle School minimum safe walking distance is approximately one and one half miles
  • High School minimum safe walking distance is approximately two miles

Boundaries for each individual school may change yearly due to the addition or reduction of safe walking paths to the school. Please contact the transportation office for information regarding the current eligible addresses for service into that school.

Students with special needs are evaluated through their Individual Education Plan (IEP). Transportation is determined by the transportation department and Exceptional Student Services after the completion of the IEP.

Do students who are enrolled in a school other than their neighborhood school receive transportation?

Students who enroll into a school other than their neighborhood school under "choice enrollment" may board an Escambia school bus at any regular bus stop, and/or ride to any regular bus stop established for that school if all of the following criteria have been met:

- Space is available on the bus as determined by the route manager of the transportation department who is in charge of scheduling for that school. It is best to call the transportation office after the second week of school when students are accounted. (If the number of assigned students increases anytime during the school year, students who are "open enrolled on the bus" may lose their seat to be able to accommodate eligible riders. No student will be denied a ride to or from school, or left at a stop or school, without previous notice that they have been displaced from a bus.)

- Any occurrence of misbehavior may warrant that a choice-enrolled student is grounds for immediate denial of the privilege to ride an Escambia County School District bus to and from school.

- The parent/guardian accepts all responsibility of getting a choice-enrolled student to and from the established stop. Parents should then be aware of and approve their student's walk path to and from any bus stop(s). Parents are strongly cautioned that the school district is not responsible for an choice-enrolled student's walk path, walking distance, and/or the crossing of any street at any intersection.

- Choice-enrolled students may not board at or depart from any special needs stop.

Do Escambia school buses have seat belts?

School bus transportation is the safest mode of ground transportation in the United States. It is 172 times safer to be in a school bus than it is in a private vehicle. The issue of seat belts on school buses is an important question for parents and riders. This is a brief summary of the Escambia County School District's guidelines regarding seat belts on its school buses.

The majority of our school buses have seat belts. Providing school buses with seat belts is not federally or state mandated, but District buses purchased today are equipped with them. Escambia County School District buses meet or exceed the standards for protecting riders in the event of an accident. School buses use "compartment" structuring in the passenger area, which includes very high seat backs and extra thick padding. This construction results in less injury since the whole body would move forward into the padded seat back.

Students riding buses with seat belts are required to wear them.

 

How can I help ensure that my child will not miss the school bus?

Have your child arrive at the bus stop five (5) minutes before their scheduled pick up time and be waiting, outside, in plain view of the driver. The driver will not leave the stop until the scheduled pick up time, however, the driver cannot wait for late riders. Drivers or bus assistants are not allowed to go up to house or honk the bus horn.

Prepare your child for longer waits In inclement weather. Prepare your child in suitable clothing to wait additional time at the stop (usually under 15 minutes) for the bus which will most likely be a few minutes late. All stops will be serviced in stormy weather. Your child returning home after waiting only a few minutes past the pick up time will usually result in him/her just missing a late running bus. 

Have a contingency plan. Escambia County School District buses and their drivers are quite reliable, however there will always be conditions beyond their control which may cause a late bus. Parents should have a contingency plan in the event that a bus is running extremely late or breaks down before reaching their students' stop. If you have left for work, the child needs to be able to get back into their home and be able to call you and/or the school. Have an alternative safe refuge, or home where they can go in case that you are not home and instruct them to call you or the school in case the bus was extremely late or broken down.

I believe my child's walk to the bus stop (or school) is hazardous. Can I change the location of my stop?

Florida Statute 1006.23  Hazardous Walking Conditions

(3)  IDENTIFICATION OF HAZARDOUS CONDITIONS.--When a request for review is made to the district school superintendent or the district school superintendent's designee concerning a condition perceived to be hazardous to students in that district who live within the 2-mile limit and who walk to school, such condition shall be inspected by a representative of the school district and a representative of the state or local governmental entity that has jurisdiction over the perceived hazardous location. The district school superintendent or his or her designee and the state or local governmental entity or its representative shall then make a final determination that is mutually agreed upon regarding whether the hazardous condition meets the state criteria pursuant to this section. The district school superintendent or his or her designee shall report this final determination to the department.

(4)  STATE CRITERIA FOR DETERMINING HAZARDOUS WALKING CONDITIONS.--

(a)  Walkways parallel to the road.--

1.  It shall be considered a hazardous walking condition with respect to any road along which students must walk in order to walk to and from school if there is not an area at least 4 feet wide adjacent to the road, having a surface upon which students may walk without being required to walk on the road surface. In addition, whenever the road along which students must walk is uncurbed and has a posted speed limit of 55 miles per hour, the area as described above for students to walk upon shall be set off the road by no less than 3 feet from the edge of the road.

2.  The provisions of subparagraph 1. do not apply when the road along which students must walk:

a.  Is in a residential area which has little or no transient traffic;

b.  Is a road on which the volume of traffic is less than 180 vehicles per hour, per direction, during the time students walk to and from school; or

c.  Is located in a residential area and has a posted speed limit of 30 miles per hour or less.

(b)  Walkways perpendicular to the road.--It shall be considered a hazardous walking condition with respect to any road across which students must walk in order to walk to and from school:

1.  If the traffic volume on the road exceeds the rate of 360 vehicles per hour, per direction (including all lanes), during the time students walk to and from school and if the crossing site is uncontrolled. For purposes of this subsection, an "uncontrolled crossing site" is an intersection or other designated crossing site where no crossing guard, traffic enforcement officer, or stop sign or other traffic control signal is present during the times students walk to and from school.

2.  If the total traffic volume on the road exceeds 4,000 vehicles per hour through an intersection or other crossing site controlled by a stop sign or other traffic control signal, unless crossing guards or other traffic enforcement officers are also present during the times students walk to and from school. 

Traffic volume shall be determined by the most current traffic engineering study conducted by a state or local governmental agency.

Useful documents pertaining to student transportation

For Escambia District School Board Rules governing school bus transportation, click HERE.

For Florida Statutes governing school bus transportation, click HERE.

For Florida School Board Rules governing school bus transportation, click HERE.