Transportation Handbook

Dear Parents/Guardians

Please read the following information concerning your child's transportation on our school buses.  The information is intended to help everyone understand their role.  This handbook is also available through your child's school.

Caro Community Schools Student/Parent Transportation Handbook

“Cultivating Excellence”

301 N. Hooper Street
Caro, MI  48723
989.673.7718

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Introduction                                                                        3

General Information                                                         4

Board Transportation Procedure

       Board Procedure                                                          4

       Limitations/Bus Passes                                               5

Transportation Eligibility                                                   6

Transportation Routing

       Bus Route Schedules-Timing of Bus Stops             7

       Kindergartens/Pre-K/Play Pals                                  9

Transportation Responsibilities

       District / Parent / Student                                          9

       Bus Rules                                                                       11

       Student Consequences                                              13

Transportation Safety

      Safety / Danger Zone                                                   13

      Loading                                                                           14

      Unloading                                                                      15

Transportation Miscellaneous                                        16

      School Closing/Delays/Weather Issues                   16

      Bus Accident/Building Evacuations                          16

 

Introduction

The purpose of this handbook is to provide a reference tool that can be utilized by students, parents, schools, and transportation staff to communicate policy, procedures and general transportation information.  It is our belief that this is an important component of providing quality transportation services.

It is important to recognize that transportation services are not mandated by law. While the District sees the importance of providing transportation, these services should be considered a privilege.

Attending school is an important aspect of every young child’s life and our goal at Caro Community Schools Transportation Department is to provide safe and timely transportation for our students. Our district provides services to our students when they travel to and from school, class field trips, various competitions, and for athletics. In order to meet the many transportation needs of our students, we do ask for support from the parent community.  With your support, we can work together to ensure safety of students transported in or out of the district.

This handbook is provided to share information regarding our responsibilities in providing services to your child, your student’s responsibilities when riding district transportation, and the parent/guardian’s responsibilities. Please read this information and share it with your student.

The policies and procedures set forth in this handbook are subject to change without notice.

Each driver has completed the required drivers training and licensing to drive a school bus and shows a desire to service our school system in a safe, dependable, and efficient manner.

General Information

Office Location:  The transportation Department is located at 301 N. Hooper Street.  Our offices are located in the large yellow pole building behind the High School.

Office Hours:  Normal school day business hours are Monday through Friday, 6:00 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.  Summer, and non-school day office hours vary.

Phone Number: 989.673.7718
Fax Number:  989.673.3753

Transportation Administration:

Director of Transportation
John Riley
Jriley@carok12.org

Transportation Secretary
Brenda Stein
bstein@carok12.org

Transportation Board Policy

School Bus Routing – Policy 4310

The primary purpose of the transportation system is to transport students to and from school. Accordingly, for student safety, only one pick-up location and only one drop off location shall be on record.  Changes of the record may be made using a Transportation Request Form.  Phone Requests will not be permitted. Changes shall be in effect for a minimum of three weeks.  Parents may not request more than four changes per year.  Short term changes for bus riders will only be due to emergencies and unforeseen urgent situations as determined by the building administrator/designee

Transportation Request Form Procedures:

A) Limitations - Each student may have on record; only one morning bus stop, only one afternoon bus stop (may be different than the morning stop), and only one emergency alternate bus stop. This applies even if the bus stop requests are all on the same bus route.  Transportation Request forms will remain in effect from one school year to the next, unless changed. 

Transportation Request Forms / Bus stop record changes; 
 

  • Must be signed. In writing.  Phone request changes will not be permitted
  • Changes shall be for a minimum of three weeks
  • Request for changes may not exceed four per year. 

Transportation will be denied to addresses not on file.  Parents in split custody situations need to designate the one morning and one afternoon bus stop together; we are not able to accommodate bus stops for each parent. Students may only ride the bus they are assigned to.

B)     Bus Passes will be used in emergency/urgent situations for the alternate address listed on file, or students shuttling from one school to another.  A pass will allow them to ride a bus they are not assigned to.  Students are not allowed to ride home with friends for birthday parties, sleepovers, study groups, scouting, etc. Bus Passes will be issued by the building office where your student attends.

Transportation Eligibility

Caro Community Schools will provide bus transportation to and from school for students in grades K-12 who reside within district boundaries as noted.  Transportation is a privilege, which can be revoked.  Due to several factors, bus stops will be consolidated where feasible.  We are not able to provide direct door to door service for many students, who must then meet at bus stops.  It is the Parent’s Responsibility to safeguard their child going to and from, and while waiting at the bus stops.

For residents living in the City of Caro within the area bordered by: Hooper St, to Gilford Rd., to Ellington Street, to Frank Street to Columbia Street, to Green Street, to Park drive, and out to M-81, we provide limited shuttle locations to assist students. Other options besides these shuttles would be, parent transport, Thumbody Express, or walking.

Students remain eligible to ride the bus when they adhere to appropriate behavior.  If a student violates the Caro Community Schools Code of Conduct, the Transportation Supervisor may collaborate with the building principal to reach resolution.  Discipline administered may include loss of bus-riding privileges in addition to any school consequences.  When students ride a bus for extracurricular activities, the student Code of Conduct remains in effect. The school bus is an extension of the classroom.

School of Choice Students have the option of meeting a Caro Bus along it’s designated route.  Contact the transportation Department for route details and times.  School of Choice students must be met by an adult at the bus stop.

Transportation Routing

Bus routes are planned to achieve safety of students and responsible economy of operation.  To maximize route efficiency, students are assigned three to a seat up to the rated capacity of the scheduled vehicle.  Many school bus riders will find it necessary to walk some distance to their designated bus stop.  It is the responsibility of the parent/guardian to ensure the student safety while going to and from, and while waiting at the bus stop.

The school bus at the stop location should be clearly visible for at least four hundred (400) feet from any direction.  Typically buses will not go into mobile home/trailer parks, cul-de-sacs, non-through streets, or private property.  Stops are designed to avoid the use of turn-arounds and avoid backing.

Bus Route Schedules / Timing of Bus Stops

Student Pick Up

Students should be at the bus stop at least five (5) minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive.  The responsibility of the parent and the student is to ensure the student is at the bus stop and ready for pick-up in the mornings.  Bus stops are, within ten (10) feet of the curb/roadway where the student boards the bus, and not at the doorway to the residences.

Students running late to their bus stop experience a greater risk of using poor judgement to reach the bus before it leaves.  Dangers include, but not limited to, crossing the street behind the bus, entering the Danger Zone (see Danger Zone of this handbook) around a school bus, or chasing a bus thinking the driver can stop a second time (which they cannot) before leaving the area.  Please reinforce with your students the need to be at the bus stop before the bus arrives.  

If the student does not ride on a daily/regular basis the bus will no longer stop.  The parent/guardian would need to call the Transportation Department on the sporadic days the student needs a morning pick-up. 

Late Buses

The transportation Department cannot guarantee that students will be picked up or dropped off every day at the same time as we are impacted by road constructions, traffic conditions, weather, and other outside influences we cannot control.  Your patience is appreciated.

Please understand the best way for our buses to be on time, is for you to be on time.  We are able to control the departure time of the bus from the school, a large part of the remaining timing rests with students and parents.  We ask that you keep in mind the following.  Any additional time spent at bus stops will add time to stops further down the route.  For example, even as little as an extra 30 seconds per stop adds six-minutes to the route time, twelve stops down.  Many parents are not aware of how a few seconds can impact the rest of the route.  

School Start Up

During the first couple weeks of the school year, buses may run slightly later on both the morning and afternoon bus routes until everyone, students, parents, daycares, and school staff have the ability to get their timing down.

Due to a frequently changing kindergarten class list, up to and including mid/late August, estimated pick-up and drop-off times will not be available until around the start of school.  Any change in the class list, the adding or deleting of students, affects the timing of the bus routes.

Kindergarten/Pre-K/Play Pal Students

An adult, or sibling (Middle or High School age or older), must meet the school bus when we drop off kindergartners/young 5s, or play pal students.  It is your responsibility to ensure you are visible to the driver.  Please meet the bus and ensure the driver can see you and know who you are there to pick up.  If we cannot verify someone is home, your child will be brought back to their school, and it will be your responsibility to pick them up. 

Play Pals pre-school program has specific requirements that the parent/guardian provide someone who is at the bus door, to assist the student on and off the bus. 

Younger students are typically seated towards the front half of the bus.

Preschool Children – Play Pals Program

We do not transport very young children on our school buses. Parents are responsible to transport children under 4 years of age. Play Pals must have someone meet the bus and assist them on and off the bus at the door.

Responsibilities

District Responsibilities
 

  1. Establish appropriate bus stops, routes, and schedules.
  2. Provide school buses that meet or exceed State/Federal Requirements
  3. Provide for certified and qualified staff.
  4. Provide for student safety while on the bus.

Parent Responsibility
 

  1. Provide for your students’ safety to, from, and while at the bus stop.
  2. Ensure your student is at the bus stop at least five (5) minutes ahead of the scheduled stop time.
  3. Visit/Review the bus stop with your child and determine the safest route to take to the stop, where to wait (approximately 10 feet from the roadway), and to be aware of unsafe situations.
  4. Review all bus safety rules with your child, encourage proper conduct.
  5. Have your student dress for times of inclement weather.
  6. Backpacks are helpful for keeping all school supplies intact and freeing hands for holding handrails when entering or exiting the bus. Teach your children to secure loose drawstrings, long backpack straps, and other objects that may get caught in the handrail or door of the bus as they are exiting. All items brought on to the bus must be under the students’ control (on their lap) at all times.
  7. Have a plan with your child if the bus is missed.
  8. Have a plan in case of early dismissal.
  9. For students under first grade: parents/caregivers are required to be present when the bus arrives. Ensure that you make yourself known to the driver.
  10. Provide the necessary transportation if your student is suspended from riding the bus.

Student Responsibility

Riding the school bus is a privilege and all rules shall be followed by students. Your bus driver has the responsibility for your safety and the safety of all students assigned to the bus.  The driver can only perform this responsibility with your cooperation and assistance in the following ways:

  1. Be at the bus stop five (5) minutes before the scheduled pick up time. In order to be consistent and stay on schedule, busses will not wait at bus stops.
  2. At the bus stop, wait in a safe location and distance from the street.
  3. If you must cross the street to board or depart your bus, cross only in front of your bus—never behind it. Students shall cross only after they have been directed to do so by the bus driver with the crossing signal (Described Later)
  4. Stay in view of your driver at all times.
  5. Walk-never run to, or from, the bus.
  6. All carry-on items must be in your lap.
  7. Remain seated until the bus comes to a full stop.
  8. When boarding or leaving the bus, do so in and orderly manner.
  9. Follow the bus rules and driver’s instructions.

Bus Rules for Students

Safety for all students is our priority when transporting students. The following rules, although not all inclusive, have been established to maintain order, safety, and well-being for all.

Follow all bus driver’s directions:
 

  1. Listen to and follow all instructions of the bus driver. 
  2. Sit facing the front
  3. Classroom behavior is expected
  4. Talk quietly; be respectful of others
  5. Beverages, food, candy, and chewing gum are not allowed on the bus
  6. Do not throw items on or out of the bus.  Nothing goes out the bus windows.
  7. Aisles must be clear at all times
  8. All items must be in backpack/bag, and be held on your lap, including band instruments.
  9. Large or fragile items are not appropriate for bus transportation
  10. Athletic and playground balls need to be in a bag or container
  11. No animals or glass containers
  12. Do not write on or damage seats
  13. Any behavior that distracts the driver will be cause for discipline
  14. Caro Community School’s policy for tobacco, alcohol, weapons, illegal substance/materials is enforceable on the school busses
  15. Electronic devices are a privilege-not a right. Inappropriate use may result in loss of that privilege:
  16. Telephone calls shall not be allowed after boarding the bus
  17. No video recording, sound recording, or picture taking allowed
  18. Sound must be muted, ear buds used, or turned off
  19. Drivers shall instruct removal of a device that is not being used appropriately
  20. Leave the bus only with the consent of the driver, out the front door (except in an emergency) after the bus has come to a complete stop.

Student Consequences

If student behavior is inappropriate, bus referral/conduct forms will be issued by the bus driver or other staff.  Administration (Transportation Director/ Students’ Principal) will review the incident and assign consequences. The assigned consequence will include review of the school conduct code where the student attends, for possible consequences as well.   Typically actions and consequences are progressive in nature, however mitigating or aggravation circumstances allow for Administration the flexibility to apply consequences.

  1. First Written Form: Student/Administrator conference and warning. 
  2. Second Written Form:  Student/Administrator conference and warning, and/or Thinking Room/ Responsibility Room/ Detention.
  3. Third Written Form: Student/Administrator conference and warning, and/or Thinking Room/ Responsibility Room/ Detention, and/or Suspension from Bus and/or suspension from school.

The Danger Zone

SAFETY

The Danger Zone of a bus is 10 feet around all sides of the bus.  The most dangerous areas are the immediate front of the bus and the door side rear tire area.  Parents please teach your students about these danger zones.

 

Loading Zone

Loading & Unloading

Loading
 

  1. Arrive at the bus stop five (5) minutes before the bus arrives. 
  2. Students should stay a minimum of 10 feet from the bus stop.
  3. All students must wait until the bus comes to a complete stop before approaching.
  4. STUDENTS CROSSING THE ROAD – 
    •  Walk slowly to within two to three feet of the road and STOP.  
    •  Watch for the red lights then look at the driver. 
    •  Wait for the driver to signal to cross the road.  The driver will use one hand, and make a motion  from left to right (wave) to signal it is time to cross.
    •  Your child should still look in both directions and if clear, walk across the road about 10 feet in front of the bus, and board the bus. We encourage the parent/guardian to walk with their kindergarten student.  Play Pal parents must arrange to have someone accompany their child to the bus.
  5. Find your seat, sit down, and remain seated until your turn to exit the bus.

Unloading
 

  1. Stay seated until the bus comes to a complete stop.
  2. Walk down the bus steps using the hand railing.
  3. Walk quickly, but do not run, away from the bus.  
  4. STUDENTS CROSSING THE ROAD – 
  5. Walk 10 feet (10 giant steps) in front of the bus.
  6. Watch for the red lights then look at the driver.
  7. Wait for the driver to signal to cross the road.  The driver will use one hand, and make a motion from right to left (wave) to signal it is time to cross.  
  8. Walk to the center of the road and check for traffic before proceeding to the other side of the road.
  9. We encourage the parent/guardian to walk with their kindergarten student – Play Pal parents must arrange to have someone accompany their child off the bus and across the road.  We will NOT ALLOW students to cross a state highway.

In the case of a bus accident or emergency, students should stay in their seat and wait for the driver’s instructions. Routine bus evacuation drills will be held during the school year to teach students the proper procedure in an emergency evacuation.

Miscellaneous - School Closings, Accidents & Building Evacuations

School Closings / Inclement Weather

Inclement weather, hazardous road conditions, power outages, or other incidents may require the delay, or closing of school.  It is possible that start times may be delayed for two hours or school may be canceled for the day.  Information regarding school delays/cancellations will be posted on the district website, notification through the Caro School Skylert Phone System, and provided to local media.

Should there be a two hour delay, students should report to their bus stops 2 hours after the regular/normal scheduled time, (i.e., if the stop is at 6:52 a.m., be at the bus stop at 8:52).  The A.M./Morning preschool will be cancelled.

In the case of threatening weather at the end of the day, schools may be released early, or buses may be delayed until the threat of severe weather subsides.  

Bus Accident Procedure

The Transportation Department is very proud of our safety record. We are committed to maintaining our safety record and providing safe transport for all students.

Our bus drivers are thoroughly trained and buses carefully maintained. Given the thousands of miles traveled annually, over 170,000, the number of students we transport, over 280,000 annually, and traffic conditions, accidents can happen.

When a school bus is involved in an accident, the scene of the accident falls under the jurisdiction of local law enforcement.  Students must remain until a law enforcement/medical personnel releases them. 

The school district will notify parents in the event of an accident. 

In the case of a bus accident or emergency, students should stay in their seat and wait for the driver’s instructions. Routine bus evacuation drills will be held during the school year to teach students the proper procedure in an emergency evacuation.

Building Evacuation Procedures

Power outages, gas leaks, and even storms, may require evacuation of a building during the school day.  An evacuation may involve moving students to another school district building, or another coordinated safe location. The Tuscola Intermediate School District & Caro Community Schools have a mutual agreement in cases of emergency situations.

General Information

Overloaded Buses

Students are assigned three (3) to a bus seat at all ages.  The term “overloaded” indicates a bus filled beyond rated capacity.  Our drivers monitor closely the number of students and know to report an actual overloaded bus.  A full bus, as reported by your child, does not mean it is overloaded.  We work to balance student numbers on our buses when possible.

Parents Entering Bus

Parents are not to enter a school bus unless authorized by the driver as a chaperone, staff, or approved volunteer.  If there is an issue or concern, contact the Transportation Department.  Drivers are instructed not to discuss issues while on a bus route. 

Passing a School Bus

It is illegal in the State of Michigan to pass a stopped school bus, from either direction, when its red lights are flashing. If a vehicle passes a Caro Community School bus, or students are put in danger, the license number will be reported to local law officials. Please help keep our students safe and never pass a bus when its red lights are flashing.

Video Monitoring System

For the safety and security of our students, district school busses may be equipped with an audio/video monitoring system.  Students should be aware that their actions and communications could be recorded at any time by this recording system and used for disciplinary action. Parents should be aware that the recorded video will not be made public and will only be viewed by authorized district personnel.  The video is considered student records for all students on it and therefore viewing is restricted.