Every Beech Grove student who is eligible for transportation is assigned a specific bus stop and route number. The BGCS routing coordinator uses the VersaTrans software program to determine required stops. VersaTrans considers bus seating capacity, student data, zoning information, and safety variables during processing to create the safest, most efficient bus routes possible. We strive to place bus stops no more than ⅛ mile from each rider’s home. However, almost all bus stops are much, much closer to a student’s home.
The natural flow of our students from grade to grade and school building to school building creates fluctuations of the number of students in a particular zone. Additionally, new students move into the Beech Grove Community and some students leave Beech Grove. These are factors considered by the VersaTrans software. VersaTrans calculates all of the students in a particular area along with their walk distance to each stop. The software then determines the safest location for all students.
As much as we would like to provide individualized service to every student, the limits of buses, seating capacity, available drivers, monitors and very small time margins between routes result in restrictions that do not make this an option. Our routing software efforts to make every route as safely convenient as possible for all of the students and caregivers.
Safety is always our first consideration in the placement of bus stops. However, not every area is situated as we all might like. We request that our caregivers assist in keeping kids safe at all bus stops but especially those stops that have not been upgraded with sidewalks and lights.
Our routing system calculates the mileage of the route, the number of stops on the route, and the speed limits on the route to determine the approximate pick-up/drop-off times. What the software cannot predict are traffic conditions at a given time of day, weather, and road conditions. Therefore, it becomes necessary for the driver to make adjustments. When adjustments are needed the driver will inform the Transportation Department and inform students in advance. The school will inform the school and a letter with updated information will be sent home with each student. The afternoon drop-off may vary more depending on the number of students riding, weather conditions, and traffic. If you feel the bus is running later than usual you may consider using the “My Stop” application or calling the Transportation Office at 317-787-1258.
The number of students on each bus makes this prohibitive. We encourage you to use the “my stop” application that will track your child’s bus. You may also contact our office at 317-787-1258.
Our school buses are extensions of the classroom. Students are assigned seats in both settings for a number of reasons. First and foremost among them is safety. A teacher & driver need to be able to quickly identify who is in their seat and who is not. Furthermore, assigned seats establish a routine, reduce student conflict and vandalism. It is a best practice in both the classroom and on the school bus.
It is our primary goal to transport your child to and from school safely. That includes monitoring student interactions. Please encourage your child to report bus situations to the driver, his/her teacher, assistant principal, or principal as soon as possible. It is very frustrating for caregivers, students, and drivers/monitors that there is ever a perception that nothing is being done to address a problem. If you have continued concerns please follow this chain of command:
In order to drive a school bus for BGCS a person must be at least 21 years old, possess a valid Indiana Class B Commercial Driver License (CDL) with passenger(P), School Bus Driver (S), with an air brake endorsement and maintain a safe driving record. In addition, prospective drivers must pass a criminal background check, CDL physical examination, and complete the School Bus Driver Training Program through the Central Indiana Educational Service Center (CIESC).
Once employed drivers must maintain a good driving record, pass a yearly CDL physical examination, pass regular unannounced random drug/alcohol screenings, attend regular transportation safety meetings, complete state mandated school employee safety training, and be a BGCS employee in good standing.
There is no absolute number. Under Indiana law, the maximum number of students that can be transported on a school bus corresponds to the seating capacity designated by the manufacturer of the bus. Thus, a 72-passenger bus can carry 72 students regardless of their age or size. Federal regulations govern how many manufacturers determine seating capacity. The regulation uses a 15-inch block for each designated seating position and rounds up to the nearest whole number. Most school bus seats are 39 inches wide; dividing 39 by 15 equals 2.6. Under the regulation 2.6 is rounded up to 3 seating positions per seat.
Clearly, the seating formula is not appropriate for all students. While state law does not limit the number of students per seat,, it does require that aisles and exits be free of obstruction. This means that students cannot obstruct the aisles with feet, arms, or legs. Exit doors cannot be blocked by any items (i.e. large band instruments or baggage on an overnight field trip).
An additional factor is the approved passive restraint system called compartmentalization (the high backed, reinforced, padded bus seats). These are designed to restrain students within the compartment or seat. Therefore, the number of students that can safely sit on a school bus seat is the number that fits entirely on the seat.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) imposes significant obligations on local school units with regard to how they treat student educational records. The State of Indiana has fully incorporated the requirements of FERPA into its own laws dealing with student records. These laws limit the person(s) who may access student records without parental consent. Specifically, the law allows for school officials who have a legitimate educational interest in a specific student may have access to student records without parental consent. Under the law, a school bus driver is a school official. Furthermore, a driver that operates the school bus on which a student rides has a legitimate educational interest in those parts of a student’s record relating to transportation. The “legitimate educational interest” is applicable whenever a school official needs to review an educational record in order to fulfill his/her professional responsibility.
We hope that this helps answer your questions. As always, if any other questions or concerns arise, please contact us at 317-787-1258.