General Information And Policies
Transportation services are provided by the Southern Lehigh School District as a courtesy to its residents. These services are not mandated by the State of Pennsylvania. We ask that students and parents review the following information related to our Transportation Services.
BUS STOP INFORMATION
Distance To Bus Stops/Stop Wait Times/Ride Times
For a point of reference, PA State Law states that transportation is not required to be provided if you live within 2 miles of your assigned school building if you are a secondary student (grades 7-12) or if you live within 1 ½ miles of your school building if you are an elementary student (grades K-6). Additionally, it is acceptable by state standards if students walk up to 1 ½ or 1 mile respectively to their assigned bus stop. Another point of interest is that a 1 ½ hour bus ride is deemed an acceptable amount of time for elementary students.
We are proud that in this district distances to respective bus stops are measured in feet rather than miles. Wherever geography allows, we try to create bus stops near areas of high student concentrations on our routing network. The parameters or guidelines for stop locations are 500 yards for students from homes of record. If anyone, at any time, has a safety concern about any bus stop, please feel free to contact us and we will come out to evaluate the stop.
ALL STUDENTS SHOULD BE AT SCHEDULED BUS STOPS AT LEAST FIVE (5) MINUTES PRIOR TO THE REGULARLY SCHEDULED TIME. Bus drivers are instructed not to wait at stops for students that are not waiting at the appropriate bus stops. Our goals are to have students wait at safety approved bus stops for no longer than ten minutes, and we try to keep students on any series of bus rides including transfers for no longer than 90 minutes. Of course, most are less than 45 minutes including longer mid-day kindergarten runs.
**For more information on inclement weather days at stops, emergency situations and what to do when a bus doesn’t show at the regularly scheduled time, please refer to your students’ school handbook.
The Handbook for School Bus Drivers - A summary of Rules and Regulations for Efficient and Safe School Bus Operation, states in part: "...sport bags, backpacks, band instruments or any school project shall not be placed in aisles or areas near entrance doors. Items of this nature must not be allowed on the bus unless they can be held in pupil's lap without endangering the safety of other pupils."
Multiple Stop Assignments
There are many students that reside in the district that are involved with split custody situations and we understand the complications associated with shared custody arrangements. It is, however, the policy of the school district to provide transportation for all students with one home of record, to and from the students' school in accordance with the school's regular calendar and program times, consistent with all applicable laws and regulations.
Furthermore, it is the policy of the district that we have not and will not provide multiple busing assignments for any student. It would be logistically impossible for this district to offer a service such as you are requesting to all students in the district. We will fulfill our obligation to provide transportation by assigning busing based on the registered home of record for your children. We would be glad to consider any preferences that you may have as long as the request is reasonable and will not have a negative impact on established routes and/or stops.
Students will not be permitted to board or leave a bus on any stop other than their assigned stop at random. If it is more convenient for a student to utilize a different stop than provided by the transportation department, the parent or guardian must contact the school in order to process a request for an alternate PERMANENT stop location.
Specific Stop Requests
SLSD will try to accommodate every reasonable request that is made. However, we cannot accommodate stop requests that detract from the overall efficiency of the system that is implemented. We will not grant requests for specific stops simply because "the bus goes by my house.' Common bus stops are a necessity for a successful transportation system regardless of their route to a series of locations. Also, there are simply some roads where we cannot physically drive a bus including roads that are not complete and many cul-de-sac roads where a turn-around would be required.
There are many considerations that affect decisions. We are confident that every parent fully understands that it is our duty to provide reasonable transportation in accordance with school district policy, applicable laws and regulations. To that end, we must make decisions that provide the highest level of quality, and most amount of safety for ALL students while working within these parameters.
Please note that any requested changes may take up to 48 hours to implement unless other wise directed by the transportation department.
Special Bus Stop Permits
The utilization of special bus stop permits in order to request alternate transportation is a service we provide to the community as a convenience for parents and students; we are not required to do such. We will accommodate reasonable requests if we are able to, providing it doesn’t disrupt any other portion of the transportation system. The following are the proper steps that should be walked through prior to any student being issued an authorized green sheet for alternate transportation:
- The student must first present a parental signed green sheet for transportation. The building staff then has to ensure that the requested stop exists, as we are not able to add stops to accommodate green sheet requests. The next step is to make sure that the proper bus # is recorded on the sheet for the stop requested.
- At no time can any bus have more than 72 passengers assigned. In fact, the drivers are instructed not to drive with more than 72 on board. Elementary buses may have additional students assigned to them with a green sheet until the capacity of the bus reaches 72.
- High School and Middle School buses usually have more than 72 riders assigned because there are a lot of High School students that do not utilize transportation due to sports, extra-curricular events, and driving privileges. Because there is no way to determine how many students will actually be riding the bus from the High School, the High School and Middle School staff can permit the use of a green sheet regardless of the more than 72 assigned. The students may ride the alternate transportation, UNLESS the driver physically has more than 72 students on a bus. In this case, the students must know that they will have to utilize their regular transportation because capacity does not allow them to ride according to their request. NOTE: This overload concept does not apply to elementary students because we can expect that if they are assigned to a bus, they will be riding on it.
- Absences also create empty seats on the bus. If a student that is assigned to a particular bus is absent one day, their absence would create a vacancy for a substitute rider. This means that even if there are as many as 72 assigned to an elementary bus, it is okay to permit a green sheet request on that bus to fill the absent student’s spot. This is considered at the building level when authorization is either granted or denied for a request.
- Finally, each building will either maintain a copy of the issued sheet or logs the information from the sheet.
- The school district is ultimately responsible for the safety and accountability of the students until they are delivered at their final destination. It is absolutely necessary for us to control and record information from the green sheets as they are authorized. Additionally, by checking the requests, we can ensure the efficiency of the transportation system. If it’s not controlled, simply loading a bus can get confusing and will result in late runs and poor service to the community.
- A separate "Bus Stop Permit" form must be utilized for each request. A request will not be granted for continual alternate transportation. For example, a Tuesday and Thursday alternate request for a stop near a sitter’s address will require 2 sheets submitted per week. The sheets may be submitted the week prior for approval which can be granted if there is existing capacity without relying on absences.
All kindergarten students are assigned to a kindergarten class based on class size, location of home, and number of classes that are available at each elementary school. After these considerations are in place, each individual preference or request for building or session is reviewed to determine if that particular request can be accommodated. This includes any information provide on daycare arrangements. Transportation is planned in consideration of all above mentioned constraints and requests. It is possible that a student may be scheduled to a kindergarten class at one particular school but then may go to a different elementary school for the remainder of their 1-3 education. This is done in order to keep class sizes as small as possible so each kindergartener is given a higher level of personal attention. Some requests cannot be accommodated based on these facts and SLSD will not and cannot sacrifice quality of education for convenience.
AM session kindergarteners will ride to school on regular elementary buses from regular elementary stops. Likewise, PM session kindergarteners will return home from school on regular elementary buses to regular elementary stops. During the mid-day period where AM kindergarteners are dropped off and PM kindergarteners are picked up, SLSD will provide door-to-door service where it is possible. (Please remember that we must still plan this transportation in consideration of the constraints cited in the ‘Specific Stop Requests’ portion of this information) This in turn may create runs that take a little longer than they normally would, but it is the small cost of service from your home when they are the only ones on a bus.
The parent or legal guardian must accompany all kindergarten students both to and from their bus stops. If another person is to be granted permission to either drop off or pick up the kindergartener, an express written letter to the transportation department must be furnished before the student will be left with that person. Each bus driver will be provided a copy of that correspondence.
NOTE: If nobody is present to receive the kindergartener, or someone is there who doesn’t have permission to receive the kindergartener, the driver will try to have dispatch and the transportation department contact the parent while the student remains on board and the driver completes the route. If the parent is reached, the student will be taken home upon the completion of the route. If the attempt is unsuccessful, the student will be brought back to the school building where they will be supervised until the parents are contacted to pick the student up. Please be at the stop 10 minutes prior to the regularly scheduled time.
Session and Building Assignments FAQ
1. What determines if my child is scheduled for AM or PM Kindergarten?
Each school year the district staff considers both enrollment and geography in making this decision. It is our goal to balance kindergarten class sizes across the district, but we must also look at the feasibility of transporting your child from the location that you designate.
2. My work schedule or daycare arrangements require my child be in AM Kindergarten. Why can’t the school district commit to my request?
Approximately 80% of parents request AM Kindergarten. It is not possible to place 80% of the Kindergarten children in AM. The district cannot judge the merits of one parental request against another.
3. My child’s nap sleep schedule requires them to be in AM / PM Kindergarten. Why can’t the district accommodate my request?
There are instances where medical conditions require sleep. The district will comply with medical condition requirements documented by a letter from your physician.
4. What determines which elementary school my child is placed in?
It is possible for a kindergarten student to be assigned to any of the three elementary schools. Class size, the location of the child at noon (home, daycare, etc.), noon kindergarten only bus runs contribute to this assignment.
5. My kindergarten child has a sibling at ___________ elementary school. Will my kindergarten child be placed at the same elementary school?
We understand that parents would like to keep siblings in the same school. Please see the answer to FAQ # 1 above. THE DISTRICT CANNOT COMMIT TO PLACING KINDERGARTEN STUDENTS IN THE SAME BUILDING AS THEIR SIBLINGS. In our efforts to balance class size and also create timely bus runs, we need to have any of the elementary schools suffice as the home school.
6. When will I learn of my child’s school and session placement?
Bus schedule cards with building assignments are typically mailed the first week of August.
7. Our neighborhood typically goes to _______ School and is assigned to the ___ session. Will that continue?
Each school year brings new Kindergarten students with new addresses. There is no practice of placing the same neighborhood in the same building and Kindergarten session yearly.
Change of Address Procedures
Student information changes include at least one variation of either address, home of record (to include results of split/arranged custody situations), active guardian of the student, emergency/contact phone numbers and information, transportation change requests, or any other information pertinent information. Any changes in the above mentioned information should be reported to the students’ respective school building immediately. Please note that NO student information can be changed unless the student’s parent or legal guardian makes the request. AND the transportation department may only process a change in student information and it’s impact on transportation AFTER being contacted by the school building staff.
Bus Evacuation Drills
Section 1517 of the Public School Code of 1949 requires all schools to conduct two emergency school bus evacuation drills on school grounds during each school year. The first is to be conducted during the first week of the first school term and the second during the month of March, and at such other times as the chief school administrator may require. Each such drill shall include the practice and instruction concerning the location, use and operation of emergency exit doors and fire extinguishers and the proper evacuation of schools and / or buses in the event of fires or accidents. On or before the tenth day of April each year, each district must certify to the Department of Education that the emergency evacuation drills herein required have been held.
Southern Lehigh School District will conduct a school bus evacuation drill prior to the end of the month of March in accordance with above referenced law. Elementary schools will conduct their bus drills in the morning after arriving at school buildings and prior to entering the building for classes. High School and Middle School will conduct school bus evacuation drills in the afternoon at the Middle School prior to being transported home.
Bus Discipline Procedures
Southern Lehigh School District is essentially responsible for students from the time they are picked up at their respective bus stops until they are dropped off at the end of the day. Bus drivers are authorized to verbally maintain order on the buses in the interest of the safety of all students. Discipline issues are not handled at the transportation department. (Please refer to student handbook for bus safety rules) Discipline issues handled by the driver may result a change of seat assignment. In the event that the minor infractions become habitual, or turn into more serious discipline situations, the Southern Lehigh School District has provided a discipline form that the driver completes and returns to the Branch Manager. The manager reviews the report and submits it to the appropriate building principal. The building principle ultimately assigns the appropriate disciplinary action. Brandywine Lehigh works closely with school principals to assure that the driver of the bus is acting within school discipline guidelines. In the event of a more serious infraction or a situation that requires immediate action, the drivers are instructed to park their bus and contact dispatch. At this time, the transportation department and school building will be alerted to the situation and if necessary the proper authorities will be notified.
Video and Audio Recording on Bus
For the protection and safety of all students, video and audio recording devices may be utilized on school buses. Behavior and communication of students, while riding school buses, may be used for purposes of student discipline under provisions of the School District's Bus Transportation Policy, Student Discipline Code, and the Public School Code.
Bus Drivers and Bus Vehicles
In addition to a number of independent transportation contracts for special transportation needs, the Southern Lehigh School District contracts with Brandywine Lehigh Transportation to provide the bulk of vehicles and drivers for transportation to and from various schools inside and outside the School District. Bus drivers are employees of Brandywine Lehigh Transportation and not Southern Lehigh School District. Questions about drivers or bus vehicles should be directed to:
Lisa Schroy - Brandywine Lehigh Terminal Manager Norman's Bus Service
Phone number: 610-282-5589 Phone number: 215-679-8643
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org E-mail: email@example.com