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 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. Are school buses required to be equipped with passenger seat belts?
A. All vehicles manufactured after October 1992 are required to be equipped with lap-type seat belts or other child restraint systems.
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 N. J. Motor Vehicle Commission.
School bus drivers are required to hold a commercial driver’s license (CDL) with a passenger 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).
Q. Has the school transportation efficiency plan resulted in any actual efficiencies?
A. Yes, since the inception of the school transportation efficiency plan, the number of districts falling below the state standard of 120 percent vehicle utilization has decreased from 489 school districts to 140. The number of students transported through coordinated transportation services has grown from approximately 8,000 to 63,000.