In a letter to parents, officials say a comprehensive review of policies and procedures led to changes due to several factors, including safety, liability and financial constraints.
The changes, announced in May for the 2012-2013 school year, come after a 2011 tragedy at the school system's bus barn and as the .
About 4 p.m. on March 14, 2011, a , 8, whose mother worked at the facility, as he was being dropped off by another bus. He was pronounced dead on the scene.
Starting this year, students will be assigned seats on school buses and given bus stop locations based on where they live. When school starts back, students who ride school buses will only be taken to their assigned bus stop, except in cases of children traveling to nonprofit organizations for after-school care and tutoring.
"As a past practice and courtesy, we have transported students places other than their legal place[s] of residency, such as residential daycare providers and to the homes of relatives," Director of Pupil Transportation Ken Paige says in the letter. "This is a growing safety issue and has created overcrowding on several of our buses.
"For these reasons, we will no longer transport students to and from any address not associated with their 'legal' home city residence....Students will not be allowed to ride a bus or be dropped off at generic bus stops not associated with their legal residence[s]. Additionally, students will not be allowed to be transported to or from any place of business."
Parents who have an affidavit of legal residency on file should complete a new application at their children's schools.
Bus stop locations will be reassigned based on safety and cost effectiveness, Paige said.
"The number of stops will be reduced without excessively compromising the safety of our students," he added.
Buses won't transport students who live outside the district to and from school, but out-of-district students are allowed to ride school buses for extracurricular activities and field trips.
In short, changes for the 2012-2013 year include:
- Students will be assigned seats on school buses for safety reasons and to allow bus drivers to identify riders on a daily basis.
- Students will be assigned a single bus stop based upon their home addresses and transported only to those stops.
- Buses will no longer take students to any other address, bus stop or location, except to nonprofit organizations for after-school programs and tutoring.
- School buses will no longer transport students to or from any place of business.
- Bus stops will be reassigned based on safety and cost effectiveness.