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Transportation Services

Transportation Services

Specialized Transportation

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Exceptional Student Education Students Who Receive Specialized Transportation Services

The safe and efficient transportation of your child relies on the cooperation and efforts of the school, Transportation Department, Exceptional Student Education Department, the student, and the parent.

The purpose of this handbook is to provide parents with a source of information that addresses responsibilities and concerns related to specialized transportation services for students served in Exceptional Student Education. It is intended to provide important information related to procedures and services used when specialized transportation services are provided.

Should you have questions that this webpage does not address, feel free to contact the Transportation Field Office or Exceptional Student Education Supervisor in your area.

AREA TRANSPORTATION
FIELD OFFICE
ESE SUPERVISOR
AREA I (813) 233-2872 (813) 272-3796
AREA II (813) 631-4052 (813) 631-4056
AREA III (813) 982-5569 (813) 558-1412
AREA IV (813) 975-7620 (813) 558-1097
AREA V (813) 840-7305 (813) 744-8636
AREA VI (813) 707-7318 (813) 707-7056
AREA VII (813) 740-3713 (813) 740-3717
AREA VIII (813) 840-7308 (813) 658-1981

In order to serve students in the most efficient manner, the following route standards are in place:

Pick-up and Drop-off Locations:

  • Students with disabilities must be served at the same address in the morning and afternoon.
    • A parent choosing to transport their child for either morning or afternoon is allowable. However, this procedure must be implemented Monday through Friday.
  • Siblings of students with disabilities may ride the bus if there is space available and they attend the same school site. If space becomes unavailable, the family will be notified by telephone and the student must be removed within 48 business hours.
  • Students with disabilities may be assigned to a regular education route.
  • An authorized adult (18 years or older) is required to be at the bus stop, on time, when the child is picked up/dropped off. It is important that school and transportation staff be informed if an alternate adult is going to accompany the student. If no authorized adult is at the drop-off location:
    • The bus driver will wait three minutes and continue on the bus route.
    • Attempts to deliver the student at the end of the bus route will be made.
    • If there is no authorized person to receive the student after the second attempt, the driver will return to the campus of enrollment and contact the Hillsborough County Department of Security.
    • Transportation services may be suspended if this is a continual concern.

Before and after-school care facilities:

  • Students that are dropped off at an after-school facility must also establish that facility as the morning pick-up location.
  • Location of before and after-school care facilities must be within the boundary of the assigned school as determined by the Individual Education Plan (IEP) Team. Verification of whether a facility is within the school boundary can be found at the district website’s school locator.
  • If a student moves to another school, services to the facility may be discontinued at the discretion of the school district, unless the facility is located within the boundaries of the new school.

Parent Responsibilities:

  • Submit accurate address, telephone, and emergency contact information to the school when a change occurs. Please do not call the Transportation Department. Incorrect or untimely information delays the placement of transportation services.
    • If the address change requires rescheduling, a minimum of 3-5 working days may be needed to establish a new route and time schedule.
  • Ensure that the student is at the designated stop 15 minutes prior to sched-uled pick-up time.
    • Buses are scheduled to arrive within a few minutes of the designat-ed time each day. The bus driver is not required to wait or to re-turn for a tardy student.
  • Communicate with private daycare and/or after-school care centers that students must be greeted by an authorized adult upon pick-up and/or deliv-ery of the student to that center.
    • The bus driver and attendant do not escort students into the desig-nated delivery site and/or sign students in. Failure to comply with this request may result in an alternate transportation service for the student or removal of such services. Facility staff are acting on behalf of the parent.
  • Hand-deliver all prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, diaper bags and related materials directly to appropriate staff at the school.
    • Bus drivers are not allowed to transport medications and/or as-sume responsibility for other related items that are not secured within the student’s backpack.
  • Transport the student’s wheelchair (if applicable) from the school if the stu-dent is sent home by school staff due to illness, public health concerns and/or other related safety issues.
  • Should not interfere with the driver or attendant while they are performing their duties.
  • Should not send students to the bus with food and/or drink to be consumed on the bus (unless prior approval is obtained and identified in the IEP) or extra items that cannot be safely secured.
  • Communicate to the school administrator any concerns related to transpor-tation services.

Student Responsibilities:

  • Obey the rules established by the bus driver and the bus attendant.
  • Respect the rights of the other student passengers and adults on the bus.
  • Be at the bus stop 15 minutes prior to the designated pick-up time.
  • Inform the bus driver or attendant of any personal needs.
  • Communicate to parents or school administration any concerns related to transportation services.

The following procedures were established to facilitate safe and efficient transportation for students with disabilities. On occasion, the Transporta-tion Department receives requests from parents to deviate from these procedures. The Transportation Department reserves the right to author-ize or deny parental requests.

The Transportation Department may adjust any existing route as neces-sary to accommodate load, equipment needs, and safety. At times, the adjustment may change existing bus routes and/or size or type of bus.

Medical Emergencies:

  • In the event of a medical emergency, 911 will be contacted.
  • After assessment by emergency personnel:
    • If a medical concern is found, emergency personnel will have the au-thority, per School Board policy, to transport the student to an appropri-ate medical facility.
    • If a medical concern is not evident, student will be returned to the bus and continue to destination.

Pick-Up/Drop-Off:

Curb-to-Curb Service:

  • Under most conditions, specialized transportation provides curb-to-curb service for students with disabilities. This means that the buses will pick-up/drop-off at the curb in a safe location relative to the student’s residence of record or provider as appropriate.
  • In accordance with National best practices, buses do not back-up.
  • Due to road conditions (dead end roadways, cul-de-sacs, condominium/townhouse/apartment complexes, dirt or gravel roadways, or narrow roadways), it may be necessary to place the pick-up/drop-off site at a safe location away from the home or daycare keeping the bus on public roads.
  • Every effort will be made to have the bus stop as close as possible to the home or daycare.
  • The bus driver or attendant is not responsible for escorting the student to or from the home and/or the school.
  • In rare instances, the pick-up/drop-off location may require the student to cross the roadway. If necessary, the bus attendant will escort the student across the roadway to and from the pick-up/drop-off location.

Loading/Unloading:

Private Driveways and Parking Lots:

  • Buses do not use private driveways or parking lots as pick-up/drop-off points.
  • Gated communities: Bus Drivers must have a gate access code to enter/exit gated communities. Additionally, the gate code must be accessible to the driver via the bus driver’s front window. Bus drivers may not exit the bus to access a keypad. If a code is not available or access to an area is restricted, pick-up and drop-off services for students will be provided outside the main gate area or the area closest to the main gate.
  • Property managers and Homeowner Associations, on occasion, deny school buses access to their property. In these cases the pick-up/drop-off place will be at a safe location closest to the entrance of the property.
  • Wheelchair lifts must be dropped on level ground.

At the Pick-Up/Drop-off Location:

  • Drivers are permitted to leave students only at the designated drop-off location or the school.
  • It is the responsibility of the driver and attendant to load/unload students at the pick-up/drop-off locations.
  • At times, the parent or guardian may be asked to assist with the loading and unloading of the student when requested by transportation staff.
  • Parents/guardians are strongly encouraged to communicate to the bus driver and attendant any information about the student that would help facilitate safe loading/unloading.
  • The Transportation Department will not accept a soiled child and are not able to wait for the student. The bus may return for a soiled child after they have been cleaned up if the schedule allows.

Communication with the Bus Driver:

Although the bus driver may share their cellular telephone, parents must be mindful that drivers are required to maintain a time schedule and may not talk on the cell phone while operating the bus per HCPS Driver’s District Policy.

Bus Evacuation Plan:

Students with disabilities who are able to get on and off the bus unassisted or with minimal assistance are expected to participate in bus evacuation drills.

Student Behavior:

It is the school district’s responsibility to provide safe transportation for students who ride school buses to/from school and on school-related trips. In the absence of a teacher or school administrator, the bus driver is responsible for ensuring that stu-dents behave in a safe and responsible manner. Any behavior that interferes with the safe transportation of students must be reported. The safety of all students is the primary concern of Hillsborough County Public Schools.

  • Behavior problems are handled in accordance with federal and state law, local rules and regulations, IEP recommendations and procedural safeguards.
  • Drivers and attendants are to use the Bus Conduct/Incident Report to refer in-appropriate behaviors to school administrators. Administrators are expected to follow district discipline procedures.

Dangerous Behavior on the Bus:

The following are Transportation Department guidelines for bus drivers responding to unsafe behavior on the bus:

  • A warning/referral will be submitted to document the incident.
  • When the behavior of a student poses a potential danger to others, the driver will immediately call the HCPS Security (K-6) office and/or call 911 for police response.

Restraint Devices:

There is a degree of flexibility in determining the appropriate type of seat and/or seat arrangement to be used for each student on the bus; however, the Transportation form must be completed to reference the team recommendations.

  • Most small children with disabilities can be secured in a Safety Vest. Many larger children with disabilities that have the ability to sit upright without support can use regular restraint (safety) belts installed in school buses.
  • A safety vest may be utilized for students whose challenging behaviors require restraint while on the bus. The safety vest is attached with a strap secured to the bus seat. Parents will be notified and/or a meeting will be held to discuss and document specific needs of the student.
  • It will be the responsibility of the parent and school staff to ensure that the student comes to the bus with the safety vest on.
  • Students will receive their vests at the first pick-up and will be expected to return to the Transportation Department at the end of the year or upon moving.
  • Parents are responsible for the safety vest and must report any defects or changes to the Transportation Department so that the safety vest can be replaced.

For Students Using Wheelchairs:

  • In order to provide the safest transportation possible, students with disabilities who utilize a wheelchair must have serviceable equipment.
  • Generally, multiple pieces of equipment cannot be transported due to safety and limited space.
  • Parents are responsible for serviceability of the wheelchair.
  • Seatback of the chair must be firmly attached.
  • Seat of the chair must be attached to the frame.
  • Trunk support systems must be present with serviceable buckles and straps.
  • Lap belts must be used and attached to the frame.
  • Book bags and ventilation/suction machines must be attached to the chair.
  • Anti-tip bars and footrests must be present and properly positioned.
  • Brakes must be present and in working order to properly hold the chair in a fixed position.
  • Tires must be properly inflated.
  • Headrests must be present and properly positioned to rest the student’s head.
  • Batteries, if present, must be properly fixed to the chair.
  • Trays should not be attached to the wheelchair during transportation services.
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