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Barnegat School Transportation Questions Answered

Recently an article was posted and several questions were raised regarding school bus transportation in Barnegat. As I stated in that article the district is restricted by law from what it can provide. I feel our residents should know what the law reads and what we need to follow. For your information:

TRANSPORTATION ELIGIBILITY

Student transportation eligibility is strictly regulated by law (N.J.S.A. 18A:39 – 1 et seq. ) and regulations (N.J.A.C. 6A:27 – 1.2 and 1.3). Boards of education have little discretion over who is transported unless the community pays to transport students who, by law, do not have to be bused. Such busing is referred to as non-mandated or courtesy busing.

By law, public school students must be provided transportation if they live beyond two and a half miles for high school students (grades 9-12) and beyond two miles for elementary school students (grades K-8) or if transportation is required by the student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). When regular public school students are remote from school within a resident district, nonpublic school students must be provided transportation or aid in lieu of transportation if they meet the remote from school mileage above and live less than 20 miles from their school of attendance, attend a nonpublic school operated not for profit located within the state of New Jersey, and meet the entrance age requirement of the resident district board of education. The maximum expenditure for the transportation of nonpublic school students cannot exceed $884 for the 2011-2012 school year. For the purpose of determining eligibility for student transportation, measurement must be made by the shortest route along public roadways or public walkways between the entrance of the student’s residence nearest the public roadway or public walkway and the nearest public entrance of the school which the student attends.

The responsibilities of a board of education are limited to educational functions. They are not required by law to provide busing for students who closer than the mandated distances, even for safety reasons. Case law has long held that safety along public roadways and walkways is a municipal responsibility. As an example of this, pursuant to section 40A:9-154.1 of state statutes, school crossing guards are appointed by the municipality and are under the supervision of the chief of police or other chief law enforcement officer.

District boards of education may, however, provide transportation for students who reside less than remote distances from their schools in accordance with their local policies and at their own expense. Boards of education may provide non-mandated transportation and charge parents for the service. Municipal governments may also contract with boards of education for this transportation and charge the parents. This transportation service is called subscription busing.

There are areas under the law and regulations on transportation that local boards may govern by local policy. It is important for parents to know the provisions in law and administrative code, as well as the local district policy. DOE does not have the authority to waive the law, regulations or local board policy. Citizens can affect local policy and local budget priorities by expressing opinions at board of education meetings.

Furthermore, pertaining to the efficiency ratings :

Transportation Efficiency

Transportation Efficiency Calculation

The school transportation efficiency plan sets a standard level of efficiency which all school districts are encouraged to achieve.  That state standard is set at 120 percent of vehicle capacity.  In other words, each district would have to use some of their vehicles for more than one route each day in order to achieve this standard.

A district’s efficiency rating (vehicle utilization) is calculated by dividing student ridership by vehicle capacity. The District Report of Transported Resident Students provides the data used for this calculation.

Vehicle capacity is calculated:

  • Utilizing 90 percent of the total number of seats available for district use. Ten percent set aside of seats is allowed for in this calculation to accommodate non-mandated ridership or other local conditions, which may prevent 100 percent utilization.

  • Vehicles used exclusively for the transportation of special education students with special transportation needs and/or special education students without special needs who are transported outside the district are not included in this calculation.

Student ridership includes:

  • Eligible resident district regular public, nonpublic, and charter school students, and in-district special education students who do not have special transportation needs (i.e. students receiving mandated transportation pursuant to NJSA 18A:39-1);

  • Students from other (joiner) districts for whom the host district provides transportation services;

  • Pre-kindergarten through 3rd grade students who reside less than remote from school;

  • Students receiving non-mandated transportation because they would be required to walk along routes designated as hazardous by the board of education pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:39-1.5 if they were not transported; and

  • Students in all grade levels whose parents or the municipality pay for non-mandated transportation (subscription busing).

Student ridership calculation does not include:

  • Students in grades four through 12 who reside less than remote from school and are not receiving transportation for reasons of hazard pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:39-1.5 or whose parents or the municipality pay do not for the transportation (subscription busing).

  • Nonpublic and charter school students whose parents receive aid in lieu of transportation; and

  • Special education students with special transportation needs and special education students without special needs who are transported outside of the district riding on vehicles excluded from the vehicle capacity calculation.               
yereance.123 February 28, 2014 at 05:57 PM
I live on a heavily traveled bus route. Buses even run on Sundays! Does anyone know why school buses are being operated 7 days a week?
SpyvsSpy February 28, 2014 at 06:49 PM
Sports?
Caryn Kellner March 01, 2014 at 06:09 AM
EVERYONE SHOULD BE BUSED! Every single kid. It's a matter of safety.
Eric Thomas March 01, 2014 at 07:10 AM
Fine, Ms. Kellner. How do you propose to pay the bill? Now here's an idea - let's cutback on non-academic, extracurricular programs. That would free up some money. Then we can eliminate all bus trips not directly related to regularly scheduled academic classes - no more Sat/Sun service. After all - BOOKS BEFORE BENGALS.
Eric Thomas March 01, 2014 at 07:15 AM
Kids have been walking to school for ages. A matter of safety? Yes, to some degree. Perhaps if these kids were alert and not crossing streets when they are texting, yakking ("chatting") on a cell phone or their ears were not plugged with headsets safety could be improved. Want "courtesy" busing. Then show overburdened taxpayers a bit of courtesy and wake up to the fact that we need to get back to basics if Barnegat isn't to go bust. More services requires more money - and the pockets are empty (that's why so many homes are in foreclosure). Redistribute what we are already spending (and not on two used motorcycles) and then you're talking.
Susan March 01, 2014 at 07:43 AM
The fact is we have no control over how any of our money is spent and complaining doesn't solve anything. How money is spent doesn't seem to be something the public has any control over. Our only choice is to move to a district where we feel the money is spent more wisely and that's about the only recourse we have as citizens and all the complaining will change nothing.
Rick March 01, 2014 at 01:53 PM
Susan, You do have some control over how the money is spent. Do you regularly attend Board of Education meetings and speak up about spending issues? Have you ever run for a seat on the Board?
Bill Cox March 02, 2014 at 10:05 AM
This situation is not limited to Barnegat, it is statewide. Barnegat worked hard to make the impact less painful. Sidewalks were installed in every area where students must walk. Courtesy busing was eliminated in the area of town closest to the schools in the center of town. Every student who lives south of West Bay Ave, east of Route 9 and west of the parkway receives transportation ( unless they attend Dunfee which is the only school located south of West Bay ). We have crossing guards on West Bay near Dunfee, at Barnegat Blvd & Ravenwood near Brackman & Collins and Barnegat Blvd. at Rosehill. Like I said this is a statewide issue for many: http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2010/08/nj_parents_face_high_costs_dri.html
Drivingtoofar March 03, 2014 at 07:46 AM
Why are we buying two USED motorcycles from stafford? We don't need them. We already bond for way too many SUV because the town refuses to put together an operating budget that plans for replacement. We bond an SUV for 10 years while it has a life if about three. Seems like a great deal
Susan March 03, 2014 at 08:58 AM
If our taxes are any indication of overspending then I would say this town is not the same as others who have a handle on the spending. JUST STATING THE OBVIOUS
Dee Caputo March 03, 2014 at 09:42 AM
A couple of years ago we did have more bussing for the students . My grandchildren used to be bussed until the school board had big financial problems and made all the cuts. If you will remember aids were cut, class room sizes became larger and we also lost some valuable teachers. Yet some positions in the school system got raises !! I can't figure it out can you? Also you are all intelligent people and realize the board of ed has a lot of finance problems. I wonder who was in charge of finances on the school board for MANY years ? Maybe our current president !! Who also was on personnel working contracts which included salary and raises. Perhaps the same person . We have to be careful of what she is up to next !
Rick March 03, 2014 at 11:52 AM
drivingtoofar, what does the town buying two used motorcycles have to do with school bussing? The motorcycles are being paid for from town funds and the bussing from school funds. Just in case you have never looked at your tax bill, the township tax rate is 72 cents per $100 of assessed valuation and the school tax is $1.25 per $100. Almost twice to as much run the schools as it is to run the rest of the town.
Rick March 03, 2014 at 12:08 PM
Ms Kellner, Everyone should be bussed? As a matter of safety? Are you suggesting picking each kid up at their front door? Kids still have to walk to a bus stop. I know that in the Settlers Landing area the buses make one big loop along Village Drive and maybe one other major street. All the kids are picked up and dropped off at selected corners. They still have to walk to and from their homes. And after school the ones who can put down their video games for a few minutes go back out and walk or ride their bikes or skate boards in the same street that were considered unsafe for them to walk to school on.
Drivingtoofar March 03, 2014 at 02:08 PM
Rick I am glad you are here for the role of capt obvious. It is a distinction that people surely envy. I am aware of the difference between town and school taxes. I was simply responding to posts indicating the police should get all they need but the schools should not. They are either removed or have moved off the page. Again thank you for pointing out all of your information.
Rick March 03, 2014 at 09:19 PM
Glad I could help drivingtoofar.

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