Q. Who must be transported?
A. In accordance with state law, N.J.S.A. 18A:39-1, all public elementary school students (grades K-8) who live more than two miles from their school and all public secondary school students (grades 9-12) who live more than two-and-a-half miles from their school are entitled to transportation. These students are said to live "remote from school." Whenever a school district is required to provide transportation to students attending regular public school programs, students attending nonpublic schools who meet those distance requirements may also be entitled to transportation services. In addition, any student classified with special needs who either meets these distance requirements or for whom transportation is required in the student's Individual Education Plan must be transported.
Q. How is the distance between a student's home and school measured?
A. Measurement is made by the shortest distance along public roadways or walkways between the entrance to the student's home and the nearest public entrance of the school building. This measurement is for eligibility purposes only and is not necessarily the travel path to or from school.
Q. Who is responsible for transportation to charter and choice schools?
A. The transportation of students to and from a charter school is the responsibility of the board of education of the school district in which the student resides. Students who reside less than remote from their charter school are eligible for transportation in accordance with the policies of the district board of education in which they reside.
The transportation of students to and from a choice school is the responsibility of the board of education of the school district in which the student resides.
Q. Are there any limits on nonpublic school transportation?
Yes, there are several limits on nonpublic school transportation. They are:
If the cost of the transportation to be provided to the nonpublic school student will exceed the annual maximum expenditure, the school district cannot provide the transportation but instead pay the student's parent or legal guardian the maximum expenditure amount. The maximum expenditure for the transportation of nonpublic school students cannot exceed $884 for the 2015-2016 school year.
In the 2015-2016 school year, transportation services are also extended to students living in third-class counties or second-class counties with a population of less than 235,000 who reside no more than 30 miles from their nonpublic schools located within the state. This applies to Cumberland, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Salem, Sussex and Warren counties.
Q. Who is responsible for safe travel along public roadways or walkways?
A. Case law has long held that safety along public roadways and walkways is a municipal responsibility. It is for this reason that municipalities install sidewalks, traffic signals and signs, and paint crosswalks. Pursuant to section 40A:9-154.1 of New Jersey statute, school crossing guards are appointed by the municipality and are under the supervision of the chief of police or other chief law enforcement officer.
Q. What is being done to ensure that students are safely transported to and from school?
A. School buses are inspected at least twice each year by special school bus inspection teams from the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission.
School bus drivers are required to hold a commercial driver's license (CDL) with a passenger and school bus endorsement, and, therefore, are also required to meet federal standards for alcohol and drug testing. The standards include testing upon initial employment followed by random tests. In addition, school bus drivers must undergo a physical examination every two years, a criminal background check upon initial employment and at the time of renewal of their CDL, and submit an annual driver's abstract (i.e., a history of motor vehicle violations).