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Special Education Transportation

Special Education Transportation is offered as a related service through the Individualized Education Program (IEP). Students will receive services that are appropriate to serve them safely in the least restrictive environment. Guidelines should be addressed in terms of independence goals by the IEP team. Students receiving special transportation must be met at the bus by a parent or authorized person for their safety. Based on the ability of the student, transitional service or centralized service may be suggested by the IEP team. The parent would then have the option to note on the transportation supplement whether the student may be released by themselves at the bus stop or if they will require an authorized person to be present at the bus stop.

Note: In the morning, parents are asked to have students ready at the bus stop waiting for the bus five (5) minutes before pick-up time. In the afternoon, if no one is waiting at the bus stop to meet a student who requires a guardian at the stop, the driver will attempt to wait two (2) minutes, unless the stop is located on a busy roadway. If the stop is located on a busy roadway, the driver not wait due to safety reasons and your child will be returned to their campus at the end of the route. After returning to the campus, the parent is responsible for transportation.

Any new students, or existing students, to Special Needs Transportation may take up to five days to schedule and route to a bus once we receive the IEP/ARD paperwork from the campus. This allows our routing department to route your child with the least amount of ride time, check the bus for appropriate equipment, revise the emergency evacuation plan, and for the driver to familiarize themselves with your child's information.

Special Education School Bus Service Guidelines

  • Travel Distance to Stop: Students will receive service that is appropriate to serve them safely in the least restrictive environment. For many students with special needs, curbside service will be provided. However, other service levels, including neighborhood bus stops, may be used. 
  • Travel Time: Travel time may change when modifications are made to a route. The district attempts to limit riding time to less than one hour when possible.
  • Ill Students: Students who are ill should not be sent to school. A parent or guardian is responsible for taking the student home if the student becomes ill at school.
  • Students Not Riding: If a student does not ride the bus for 3 consecutive days, without prior notification to the Transportation Department, the student will be removed from the route. In order to resume service, please contact transportation dispatch at (281) 577-8680, this process could take up to (5) business days to resume services. To cancel a pickup, please call the same number as soon as possible on the morning of pickup.
  • Assigned School Bus and Time Changes: In keeping with the goal of serving students in the least restrictive environment, the District may serve students with special needs on one of a variety of school buses. Although efforts will be made to provide the same bus, it may be changed for operational reasons. The driver and/or aide will attempt to contact the parent to notify them of time changes if students are added/removed from the route.   
  • Meeting Your Student: It is expected that a parent or authorized person will meet students who receive special transportation. Exceptions to this guideline should be addressed in terms of independence goals by the IEP team in which the student's Transportation Supplement must reflect that no guardian is required at the bus stop. If no one is present at the drop-off time to meet a “must be met” student, the driver will return the student to their home campus.  Courtesy calls will NOT be made to guardians to notify them of the arrival of the school bus.  Guardians are encouraged to sign up with Smart Tag's Parent Portal to register for notifications.    
  • Students and/or Guardians Not At The Bus Stop: If the bus arrives and the student is not at the stop or the guardian is not there to receive the student, the driver will wait two (2) minutes and then proceed on the route, unless your child's bus stop is located on a busy roadway, in which case the driver will not wait for your student for safety reasons.  Courtesy calls will NOT be made to notify parents of the arrival of the school bus.  Parents are encouraged to create an account in Smart Tag's Parent Portal to set up notifications for the arrival of the school bus.  The Transportation Department is unable to provide courtesy calls due to the number of students being transported throughout the district.  Parents are asked to have students ready five (5) minutes before the scheduled pick-up time.
  • Late Buses: There are extenuating circumstances that could cause a bus to be delayed. After waiting 15 minutes, parents should contact transportation.
  • Specialized Equipment:  The use of equipment such as seat belts, child seats, and wheelchairs will be outlined in the child's Transportation Supplement.  Wheelchairs used as a passenger seat on a school bus should meet WC19 safety standards.  These standards are the guiding principles that encourage mobility device manufacturers to include crash protection when manufacturing their wheelchairs.
  • Lost Items on Buses: Students may retrieve lost items from the bus on the next school day. Unclaimed items are turned over to the school.
  • Cameras: Video cameras may be used on school buses to monitor student behavior. Boarding a school bus is considered consent to be photographed. Video images will not be made public.
  • Alternative Service Addresses or Changes of Address: Due to program zones and the overall safety of the students, parents must inquire about their student needing bus services to a location other than their home address on file. Due to program zones and the nature of these routes, the request may be denied. However, if approved, it may take up to five (5) business days to begin services.
  • Disciplinary Action: When unacceptable or unsafe behavior is observed on the school bus, the Transportation Department will be in contact with the SpEd Department and campus Administration.  If the behavior is related to the student's disability, additional support may be offered to the student and Transportation Staff to assist with a safer bus ride.  If behavior is not a result of the student's disability, the Transportation Department may issue a suspension from the school bus as appropriate by the Transportation Behavior Coordinator and SpEd Department.