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  • Section E: Support Services


  1. General

  1. Mission of the Transportation Department: The mission of the Transportation Department shall be the transportation of eligible resident children within the district. School buses and vans shall be purchased, operated, and maintained through RSU 21 for that purpose.

  2. Legal Compliance: All Transportation Department vehicles shall be operated in compliance with the laws of the State of Maine.

II. Definition of Terms:

A. Assigned Vehicles: The vehicle assigned to a geographic area for the transport of students to and from that area.

B. Bus Stop: The pickup and drop off location determined to be a safe, accessible, and central location for a student or group of students. A “Central” stop is the same as a group stop location.

C. Care Provider: A parent, guardian, relative, or assigned babysitter or daycare center who is responsible for the care and well being of a student.

D. Travel Distance: The distance determined to be safe and reasonable for a student to travel to school or to a central bus stop.

III. Limitations on Travel Distances: 

A. PreK-2: Students in grades PreK-2 will not be required to travel more than .3 of a mile to school or the nearest central bus stop.

B. 3-5: Students in grades 3-5 will not be required to travel more than .6 of a mile to school or the nearest central bus stop.

C. 6-12: Students in grades 6-12 will not be required to travel more than 1 mile to school or the nearest central bus stop.

D.  Notwithstanding the terms of the Traveling Distance limitations specified in III. A., B., and C. herein, (1) the Traveling Distances to a Central Bus Stop may exceed such limitations due to safety concerns, remoteness of a location, or deviations from such limitations of +/- 500 feet.  Traveling Distance limitations specified in III. A., B., and C. herein only apply to bus runs occurring during the academic school day.

E. As Specified in III. D., bus stops should follow established traveling distances in most locations and circumstances. In some cases, a stop may need to be altered to facilitate efficiency and/or safety of Transportation Operations. In these cases, the Transportation Manager may assign a pick up location outside of the established travel distance. Caregivers are required to ensure the safety of students getting to these alternative stops. These alternative stop locations (central stops) will be used sparingly but as necessary to ensure a safe, timely, reliable and efficient transportation route. All stop locations will be evaluated not just for efficiency but also safety per the Safety Expectations detailed in Policy JCA, Section II. A. 

Prior to implementation, any of the alternative central stop locations must be endorsed by the Operations Director with final approval given by the Superintendent. 

IV. Considerations for Determining Appropriate Bus Stops and/or Whether Students May Walk to School:

A. Safety: Safety shall be the determining factor for a student to walk to school or a central bus stop.

B. Responsibility: It shall be the responsibility of the student’s care provider to ensure the safety and proper behavior of students to, from, and at designated bus stops.

C. Limitations of Bus Access: No RSU 21 School Bus shall enter any private or public way that is determined to be unsafe for bus passage or does not provide adequate turnaround facilities. No bus shall pick up or discharge students outside the RSU 21 School District during regular bus routes. No route shall be altered to accommodate student care providers, but students may be picked up or discharged at a location other than the student’s assigned bus stop in the following circumstances:

  1. The pickup or discharge location is located within the RSU 21 School District; and

  2. The pickup or discharge location is on an existing bus route that normally serves the students’ school.

The determination as to whether or not an RSU 21 bus will pick up or discharge students at a location other than the nearest central bus stop shall be at the discretion of the superintendent or designee.

V. Assignment of Buses and Requests to Ride Alternative Buses:

A. Bus Assignments: Students will be assigned to ride the bus that is geographically assigned to the central bus stop of that student. Students may not ride buses that may pass through but are not assigned to their geographic area.

B. Request to Ride Alternative Buses: Any student or group requesting to ride on a bus other than their assigned bus for ongoing community or school extracurricular activities must have a parent/guardian notify the school at least two days in advance. This notification implies and shall serve as consent for the alternative transportation arrangement. Emergency family situations will be evaluated and responded to on a case by case basis and should be communicated directly to the building Principal or designee. 

C. Right of Refusal: The Transportation Department reserves the right to refuse alternate bus transportation for students or groups if such transportation may infringe on the mission of the Transportation Department. Any student or groups’ alternate transportation needs are the sole responsibility of the student or groups’ care provider(s). 

VI. Request for Group Trip Transportation

All requests for group trip transportation must be submitted to the Transportation Department at least two weeks prior to the trip date. The Transportation Department reserves the right to limit and or refuse bus availability to meet the mission objectives of the Transportation Department. Notification of trip cancellation will be given at least 24 hours in advance, except in cases of emergency.

VII. Priority of Bus Service:
A. School Routes: Regularly scheduled school bus routes will receive the first priority of RSU 21 school buses. This includes Career and Technical Education transportation to and from a career and technical education center or career and technical education satellite program. 

B. Field Trips: RSU 21 school-related field trips will receive the second priority for RSU 21 buses.
C. Academic Competition and Athletic Trips: Academic/RSU 21 M.P.A. Athletic Trips will receive the third priority for RSU 21 buses. The Athletic Director will prioritize athletic trips.
D. School buses and van loans: Bus and van loans for other than RSU 21 transportation needs will be provided on an availability basis only.

VIII. Special Use of Buses:

A. Spectator Buses: Spectator buses for contests may be provided if the Principal approves the application. Cost of running spectator buses will be made up by fares collected from the riders. Spectator buses must be properly chaperoned by school personnel.

B. Graduation Trips: School buses shall not be used to transport the graduated senior class to non-school approved activities without prior school board approval.

IX. Late /Activity Bus

The Board believes that interest and participation in extracurricular activities increase when school bus transportation is available beyond the end of the regular school day. As practicable and within budgetary limitations, RSU 21 will operate an activity bus (“Late/Activity Bus") to provide limited transportation for middle school and high school students who stay late for school-sponsored activities. The routes will not replicate normal runs but will provide service to central locations within each town served by RSU 21. The student will be the parents’ responsibility once the student leaves the late bus at the designated drop-off location. Families should be aware that traveling distances referenced above do not apply to the afternoon Late/Activity Bus stops.

The Superintendent/designee will be responsible for establishing late/activity bus routes and reviewing/revising them on an annual basis.

X. Special Education Transportation: Special education students shall be provided transportation in accordance with 20-A MRSA 5401(4).The Transportation Manager will coordinate such transportation with the Special Services Director to ensure that all special education obligations are met.

Cross References:
JICC - Student Conduct on Buses
EDC - Authorized Use of RSU 21 Owned Property 

Adopted:   01/12/98
Amended: 07/16/01
Amended: 09/27/04
Amended: 08/17/09
Amended: 10/17/11
Amended: 03/21/16
Amended: 03/04/19
Revised: 10/17/22
Revised: 1/29/24

  • Section E