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Frequently Asked Questions
The Department of Education frequently receives questions pertaining to the transportation of school students.
 
 

 

      Q.  Are school districts required to transport students?

      A.  With the exception of charter school students, Pennsylvania law does not

           require a school district to provide transportation to its students.

 

 

 Q.  When does a school district have to provide transportation to a charter
        school?

      A.  The law requires school districts to provide transportation to resident

           students attending a charter school "on such dates and periods that the

           charter school is in regular session" if:

               

               The charter school is located within the school district, or

               The charter school is located not more than ten miles by the nearest 

               public highway beyond the school district boundary, or

               The charter school is a regional charter school in which the school
         district 
participates.

 

 

      Q.  When a school district provides transportation, who is responsible?

      A.  The board of directors of a school district is responsible for all aspects of pupil

           transportation programs.  The school board may ask their solicitor (an

           attorney) to interpret educational laws and regulations for them.

      

 

      Q.  How long may a child be required to ride on a bus?

      A.  This is a local decision (based on geography, population distribution, etc.). 

           There are no time limits set by law or regulations.

      

 

      Q.  How far may a child be asked to walk to a school bus stop?

      A.  The law allows a school district to ask a child, regardless of age, to walk

           up to a mile and a half to a bus stop.  The mile and a half is measured by

           public roads and does not include any private lane or walkway of the

           child's residence.

 

 

Q.  May a fee be charged to pupils who ride a school vehicle?

A.  No.  Section 1361 of the School Code states that when a school district
     provides
 transportation to its students, it is to be free and paid for out of
     school district
 funds.  Additionally, Section 1365 prohibits districts from
     demanding,
 requesting or accepting compensation for transporting students.

      

 

      Q.  I think the road my child has to walk along is hazardous.  What can I

              do?

A.  The law provides for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to

     review potentially hazardous walking routes.  The request for this review

     must be made by the school district to the local PennDOT engineering

     district office.  PennDOT regulations do not address hazards other than

     road or traffic conditions.  The local district may assess conditions such

     as bad neighborhoods, secluded wooded areas, snow removal, etc.,

     when developing transportation routes.

 

 

Q.  I think the bus my child rides on is overloaded.  What can I do?

A.  Address your concern to the school district.  All questions relating to

     school vehicle regulations, such as seating, aisle clearance, warning

     devices, etc., should be addressed to the Pupil Transportation Section

     of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation at (717) 787-6453.  

      

 

      Q.  May a school district suspend busing services for a child?

      A.  Yes.  Transportation is a privilege, not a right.

      

 

      Q.  When does a school district have to provide transportation to a

              nonpublic school?

      A.  When a school district provides transportation for its public pupils, it must
     provide transportation services to nonpublic pupils of the same grade level
     that it is providing for its own pupils.  The nonpublic school must be nonprofit
     and located within ten miles of the district’s boundary, measured by the

           nearest public road.  If the school building in which the pupil is enrolled

           is not located within the ten-mile distance, the nonpublic pupil is not eligible

           for transportation, nor are his parents eligible for payment towards

           transportation costs.

      

 

      Q.  Is the local school district that transports my child to a nonpublic

              school required to transport her on days when the nonpublic school

              is in session and the public school is closed?

      A.  Yes, unless the closure is due to weather conditions.

      

 

      Q.  May a school district ask a child going to a nonpublic elementary

              school to ride on a vehicle with public high school students?

      A.  Yes. 

 

 

Q.  If the teachers are on strike, must the school district still provide

       transportation for eligible nonpublic pupils to their schools?

A.  Yes.

  

 

      Q.  Must transportation be provided for exceptional children?

      A.  Transportation must be provided as required by a child’s individualized

           education program (IEP).  An intermediate unit may provide this

           transportation for the school district.

 

 

Q.  What can I do about transportation problems such as (1) the bus was

       late, (2) the bus never came, (3) the bus stop location seems

       dangerous, (4) the bus driver is speeding, and (5) another child hit

       my child on the bus?

A.  You must work with your school district to address such problems. 

 

 

Q.  Does the state provide funds for pupil transportation?

      A.  Yes.  On a statewide average, the pupil transportation subsidy covers
           approximately half of a school district's transportation costs.
 
 
      Q.  Which school district is responsible for transporting a homeless
              student?
      A.  See the document Transportation - Homeless Children Q & A.
 
 
 

For additional information, please contact:

John Burkett | Budget Analyst
Pennsylvania Department of Education - Bureau of Budget and Fiscal Management
333 Market Street | Harrisburg, PA 17126-0333
Phone: 717.787.5423 x5
ra-eTran@pa.gov | www.education.state.pa.us