FILE:  ED

Cf:  ED-R, ED-P

 

STUDENT TRANSPORTATION MANAGEMENT

 

 

The Pointe Coupee Parish School Board shall provide to eligible students school transportation services which shall meet the objectives of safety, efficiency, adequacy, and economy.  Through the use of publicly and privately owned buses, the Board shall maintain a student transportation program that shall conform to or exceed minimum standards as set forth by pertinent statutes and the Louisiana Department of Education, as well as regulations established by the Supervisor of Transportation.  It shall be unlawful for the School Board to permit the transport at one time a number of children on a school bus that exceeds the number of seats available on that bus.

 

All vehicles, owned by either the school district or contract bus drivers, shall carry evidence of insurance and be registered, marked, and equipped according to law.  Contract bus drivers who purchase their own insurance shall be required to submit to the Supervisor of Transportation proof of proper and valid insurance coverage prior to any usage of the bus.  Should any coverage aspects or insurance policy provisions change during the year, the bus operator shall notify the Supervisor of Transportation immediately.

 

All school buses used to transport students shall at all times be driven by drivers, regular and substitute, possessing a valid Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) with proper endorsements, and having completed state-required pre-service certification training, in accordance with provisions outlined in Bulletin 119, Louisiana School Transportation Specifications and Procedures.  All school bus operators, including contract bus operators, shall be required to personally operate the school bus assigned or owned, except in the case of illness or emergency.  In such cases, a substitute shall be assigned by the Supervisor of Transportation.

 

SAFETY INSPECTIONS

 

All buses and other vehicles used primarily for the transportation of students shall be inspected by the assigned driver on a daily basis.  All school vehicles shall be inspected a minimum of twice a year, once during June, July or August and certified as safe prior to the beginning of the school session, and once during December, January, or February of each school year, by an approved Louisiana Motor Vehicle Inspection Station.  Buses fifteen (15) years of age or older shall be randomly inspected more frequently than other buses to assure effectiveness of operation and safety of students.  This inspection shall be conducted by a certified inspector approved by the Supervisor of Transportation.  In addition, immediately following a bus accident, the bus operator shall be required to have an extensive inspection of his/her bus.

 

The school buses used for the transportation of children, whether privately or publicly owned, shall be inspected at intervals determined by State law by local transportation personnel and/or Louisiana State Police in accordance with standards established by the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) and/or the School Board.

 

All inspection reports shall be filed with the Supervisor of Transportation.

 

DAILY TRIP INSPECTIONS

 

Before beginning, during, and after completing each assigned route, trip, or individual run daily, the bus driver shall conduct pre-trip, en route, and post-trip inspections of the vehicle and its special equipment to check for passengers, special equipment, medication, etc. that may have been left on the bus.  Before the driver exits the bus after any trip or individual run, the driver shall immediately perform a post-trip inspection of the interior of the bus for children or other passengers that may have remained on the bus.  The driver shall employ any means necessary to check for children who may be under seats.  The driver shall also check for damage to seats, and articles left on the bus.  Failure to check for children left on the bus may result in discipline of the driver, up to and including termination.

 

BUS PURCHASES

 

It is the policy of the Pointe Coupee Parish School Board that any used school bus purchased for use in the parish shall meet current statutory requirements for motor vehicles and shall meet Louisiana specifications for school buses that were in effect on the date the vehicle was manufactured.  All bus purchases shall require prior approval of the Board.

 

School buses used to transport students, including activity and backup buses, shall not be more than twenty-five (25) years old.  All replacement school buses, at the time they are acquired by the owner, shall be eight (8) or less model years old.  The number of years shall be reckoned from the date of introduction of the model year.  This shall apply to buses purchased by veteran owners/operators, by newly hired owners/operators and by the School Board, individual schools, booster clubs, etc., for the purposes of transporting children to and from school and school-related activities and for use as spare buses.

 

When a new bus is purchased or the ownership of a bus is transferred, the driver shall assure that the bus is in compliance with all requirements contained in applicable laws and school district regulations.  All buses so purchased shall be required to satisfactorily pass all mandated inspections prior to any usage.

 

All school buses purchased to operate for regular pupil transportation within the Pointe Coupee Parish School System shall have a seating capacity of sixty-five (65) or more passengers, and be equipped with strobe lights connected to clearance lights, automatic transmission, air-conditioning, and two (2) security cameras, in addition to meeting the minimum standards and other requirements as set forth by the School Board.  Drivers shall be required to purchase and install strobe lights on all new buses purchased.  Drivers shall be required to have cameras and strobe lights on at all times when there are children on the buses.

 

BUS DRIVER CERTIFICATION

 

All bus drivers, regular and substitute, shall be required to have a valid Commercial Driver's License (CDL), successfully completed all necessary pre-service certification training and successfully completed an annual physical and psycho-physical exam prior to the opening of the new school year.  The Board shall also require the following:

 

  1. All school buses shall be inspected on or before 25 days prior to the sixth month expiration date.

  2. All other requirements for certification shall be met on or before the due dates, including obtaining or renewing the CDL.

  3. A grace period of five (5) working days will be granted for reasons of hardship or extenuating circumstances.  The request must be made prior to the due date and approved by the Supervisor of Transportation.  The drivers must show good cause why they should receive the benefit of a grace period.

  4. If at the end of said grace period, the driver has failed to fulfill his/her obligation with regard to inspection and the requirements for current certification, the Supervisor of Transportation shall report directly and immediately to the Superintendent the names of the drivers who have failed to comply.  The Superintendent shall immediately suspend the driver(s) without pay.  The suspension shall be for no less than one week of actual driving time, or longer if the requirements are not met on the due date.

  5. Any driver who wishes to appeal the decision of the Superintendent may do so in accordance with the guidelines and procedures of the Pointe Coupee Parish School Board Policy on Complaints and Grievances.

  6. All school bus operators, including contract bus operators, shall be required to personally operate the school bus assigned or owned, except in the case of illness or emergency.  In such cases, a substitute shall be assigned by the driver from the approved substitute list.

 

BUS SPECIFICATIONS

 

All school buses purchased shall not be less than 28 feet in length unless for special purposes such as the mini-bus for special education.  Any bus purchased shall be approved by the Transportation Supervisor and Superintendent, provided that the inspection standards as determined by the state and federal government are met.

 

USE OF CELLULAR TELEPHONES

 

A driver may use his/her own cellular telephone.  The use of cellular telephones by school bus operators shall be authorized only in an emergency situation, such as mechanical problem, accident, or illness of the bus driver or passenger.  The bus should be pulled safely out of traffic (if possible) and the motor turned off before the cell phone is used.

 

All school bus drivers should have communication devices that are turned to the “on” position while operating the school bus.

 

VIDEO EQUIPMENT ON SCHOOL BUSES

 

As a means to help ensure safety and proper conduct on School Board owned and/or contracted school buses, it shall be the policy of the Board that video surveillance equipment be allowed and/or required when such equipment is requested and approved by the Supervisor of Transportation, and operated under rules and regulations established by the Superintendent.

 

The purchase and installation of such equipment shall be the responsibility of the contract drivers for their buses.  Ownership of the equipment, including the housing thereof, shall remain with the contract driver.  Strict adherence to laws and rules of confidentiality shall be maintained in the viewing of tapes and use of equipment to assure compliance with laws and regulations regarding the privacy rights of students and employees.

 

Adopted:  December, 1976

Revised:  October, 1998

Revised:  March, 1992

Revised:  August, 2000

Revised:  November, 1993 

Revised:  October, 2000

Revised:  January, 1995

Revised:  December, 2000

Revised:  April, 1996

Revised:  February 24, 2011

Revised:  October, 1997

Revised:  August 22, 2013

 

 

Ref:     La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§17:158, 17:158.1, 17:158.2, 17:158.3, 17:158.4, 17:158.5, 17:158.6, 17:159, 17:159.1, 17:159.2, 17:160, 17:161, 17:162, 17:163, 17:164, 17:165, 17:166, 17:492, 32:293, 32:378

Olive Morgan v. Livingston Parish School Board, First Circuit Court of Appeals, March 1991

Louisiana School Transportation Specifications and Procedures, Bulletin 119, Louisiana Department of Education

Board minutes, 1-23-74, 11-21-91, 10-27-94, 12-14-95, 7-27-00, 8-24-00, 2-24-11, 8-22-13

 

Pointe Coupee Parish School Board