December 9: Riding the Bus

Spotlight on Schools: Riding the Bus

1280px December 9, 2016 — Hello Black River Falls Community, this is Dr. Shelly Severson with the School District of Black River Falls here to share this weeks’ installment of our Spotlight on Schools! Today we are going to talk about busing in our district. We often get questions about the routes of our buses, who is eligible for busing, why do some kids that live closer get a ride, while others have to walk from what seems further, etc.

We’ll first start by stating that Wisconsin law dictates that all public school students living two or more miles from school are entitled to transportation. Schools certainly have the authority to do that in whatever manner works best for their school, but transportation must be provided. In BRF we own our fleet of buses. Some districts contract with an outside agency and districts housed in major cities can rely on public transportation as long as it is at no cost to families.

Schools are also required to create a plan for Unusually Hazardous roadways, if the district believes there are areas within the 2 mile radius that are too hazardous for students to walk to and from.

In the School District of Black River Falls, we have several areas that we bus from inside the 2 mile radius, this includes those that live on the opposite side of HWY 54 from their school, HWY’s 12/27, as well as County Hwy A. Additionally, we have some areas that are within two miles but have a severe lack of sidewalks and run parallel to major roadways, those are also part of our hazardous roadway plans.

As I said, schools are required to provide transportation, however, the state says they need to provide transportation from home to school…no place else. We know that with family structures what they are, that is not a system that will work for everyone. We require that families fill out a transportation contract which must be a set weekly schedule of where pick up and drop off is each week. This means that we may pick up at home, drop off at Boys & Girls club on Mondays and Wednesdays, Grandma’s on Friday, and day care on Tuesdays and Thursdays. As long as it is a set schedule that repeats each week we work diligently to make it happen. What we do not allow is for a parent to call school and request that a child ride the bus to a friends house or another relative. If it is not on the contract, we do not transport the student to that location. Additionally, families cannot change their schedule at the drop of a hat. A new contract must be filled out and processed through the transportation office prior to any changes taking place.

We want to make transportation as convenient for families as possible. However, we transport over 1,000 students daily. In order to maintain safety, we absolutely cannot allow last minute adjustments.

Obviously safety is our first priority! We are lucky to have a fleet of drivers that take their roles very seriously. When you hear of tragic bus accidents, it is enough to strike fear in the hearts of everyone that has ever found themselves in a fender bender or on an icy roadway. We are heading into the season where this becomes a real consideration. We would greatly appreciate the whole community helping to support our drivers through the winter driving conditions. Whether it be parents talking to their students about the dangers and the need to be quiet and respectful so the driver can drive, or other commuters on the road giving a little extra space and patience to the big yellow buses when winter road conditions are a problem.

I hope you can take in some of the holiday festivities in the coming weeks at school!

As always, thank you so much for your support of the School District of Black River Falls! If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me! Go TIGERS!

 

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