Frequently Asked Questions
Questions About Our Department
Why don't school buses have seat belts?
Seat belts are not required in school buses because research by the Department of Transportation and others determined compartmentalization was a better solution. The student is "compartmentalized" between the high, wide, and thick foam padding of the seats. The metal surface of the seat frame is covered with this padding, and is constructed to spring and bend forward to absorb energy if a child is thrown against it. The steel frame must 'give' just enough to absorb a child. The seat is also anchored to the floor so strongly it will not pull loose during this bending action. And the floor must be so strong that it will not be bent or torn by the pulling action of the seat anchors. This concept of compartmentalization is more manageable than seat belts. The protection exists without depending on any action by the children or extra supervision by the drivers. Seat belts require discipline and supervision to keep them clean, unraveled, and in use.
Compartmentalization works equally well for 1, 2, or 3 students per seat. Today's seats may contain three small children or two large ones, or any combination in between. Arranging seat belts to properly handle any combination is difficult, if not impossible; the best know solution with seat belts is to restrict each seat to two students and two belts, which has the disadvantage of sharply reducing the carrying capacity of bus fleets.
Compartmentalization works whether students have fully developed abdominal areas or not. Conventional seat belts, which are lap restraints only, are not suitable for small children whose abdominal area and bone structure are not adequately developed to take the force of a lap belt alone. They need the help of chest harnesses also, which adds to the complexity of a proper seat belt solution.
Compartmentalization, once it has done its energy absorbing job, leaves the student free to escape the bus. Seat belts could leave students strapped in, upside down or unconscious in burning or flooding buses.
What can be done to improve school bus safety?
Education and knowledge will help keep our children safe. The children will be safer by knowing and following all the bus safety rules. Parents educated in school bus safety will insist their children cooperate with the bus driver to insure a safe ride. The informed driving public will be aware and comply with the law by not passing a stopped school bus with red flashing lights.
Where can bus schedules be found?All Denton ISD students must register for transportation services prior to riding the bus. This registration process will allow the District to verify each student’s address and eligibility. Eligibility will be determined at the time of registration. You may request services through InfoSnap (the online process to register for school). If your student is already registered for school, you may contact the campus or Transportation and ask them to edit your information. Once a student is registered for the bus, the Transportation Department will email bus information. Information is also available from Transportation Services by calling 940-369-0354 or 940-369-0344. Additionally, you may log in to the Home Access Center once bus information has been assigned. For log-in information, please contact the student's home campus. If at any time of the year your student changes addresses, you must contact the campus with the new address before bus information can be changed.What are student access cards and why does my child need one?ALL Denton ISD students are required to have a student access card to ride the bus. These cards are programmed at Transportation and given to the students through the bus driver or parents may come and pick one up. ALL Denton ISD buses are equipment with GPS equipment and the student access cards are part of this. The program was started in 2010 as part of our way of making student transportation safer for the children and parents. The student access cards allow parents to know when their students have loaded the bus or unloaded the bus at at what location.
How many passengers does a bus hold?
A conventional bus holds 71 passengers. Denton ISD levels of service allow 71 students on primary routes. The maximum recommended capacity for secondary students is 55 passengers because of their larger size. Standees are not allowed on any Denton ISD school buses.
Can my child ride home with a friend?
Only authorized personnel and eligible bus students assigned to a specific bus are permitted to ride that bus. Students WILL NOT be allowed to ride any bus other than assigned bus. Students will be transported to/from designated stop and to/from designated school only. Designated stops are assigned by the Transportation Department based on the student’s recorded home address. Emergency transportation may be granted on a temporary basis in some cases. A supervisor at the Transportation Department must approve emergency transportation for students riding other buses. Notes from parents/guardian will not be accepted as authorization to ride a bus.
Can bus stops be added or a stop location changed?There are many factors to taken into consideration when adding or moving bus stops. School Board Policy states: “The District shall regulate the assignment of bus stops through the use of corner-stop-routing. Corner-stop-routing is defined as the assignment of bus stops to designated street corners in a neighborhood or residential area.” The Denton ISD Transportation Department is dedicated to providing safe and efficient transportation operation.We have worked to establish stops located to best service all students in your area. Therefore, we consider it a parent or guardian responsibility to see that children get safely to and from authorized bus stops. All requests to add or change a bus stop will be reviewed keeping in mind the following criteria: Safety, Spacing, Accessibility, Visibility and Fiscal Responsibility.
How do we know when a change has been made to a bus route?
Written notices are faxed to the school and sent home with students riding the bus in advance of any major change.
What happens if a bus is late to school?
Drivers are instructed to make the first bus stop at the scheduled time. Additional stops can be delayed due to traffic, weather, road conditions, or sick students. A phone call is made to the campus if the bus arrives within 5 minutes of the final bell, and students are instructed to stop at the office if a pass is required. Late arrivals are tracked by the transportation staff in order to improve service.Do buses have video cameras?Most of the buses at Denton ISD operated video surveillance systems. This enhances security and safety on these buses.
What is a bus safety report?
A bus safety report is part of the four-step progressive discipline process used on Denton ISD school buses. Parents are notified in writing and by phone if a child breaks a bus safety rule. Students are expected to know and follow all bus safety rules in order to assure everyone of a safe ride. For more information, consult the Student Code of Conduct.
If my child misses the bus, will you come back to pick him/her up?
Students are required to be at bus stops 5 minutes prior to the stop time. Buses are scheduled to arrive at a bus stop or resident and campus at predetermined times. The majority of our buses service multiple campuses; therefore it is important the buses do not deviate from their schedules so we may keep our level of service to all of our students. Parents are required to transport their child should they miss the bus.
How do I get my child onto a Special Needs bus?
Students who ride a Special Needs bus are identified at the campus level through an ARD (Admission, Review & Dismissal) process. Programs, individual disabilities and other criteria must be met for consideration of Special Needs Transportation. Since the service is individualized for the student, you may want to contact your campus Diagnostician or Assistant Principal to discuss this further. You may, also, contact the Supervisor of Special Needs Transportation at 940-369-0311 for questions regarding scheduling.
We are planning on moving to another residence in Denton; when should I notify the Transportation Department to keep my Special Needs child’s bus schedule?
As soon as you have made the decision to move, contact the Special Needs Transportation Office at 940-369-0311. Our goal is to help your child make a smooth transition to their new environment and can answer specific questions to help “ get the ball rolling”.
My Special Needs child will not be riding the bus, what number do I call?
Since we offer curb-to-curb service for our Special Need students, we ask that parents notify us via the Dispatch office at 940-369-0333 at least 30 minutes prior to their child’s pick-up time or by 1:00 P.M. if they will not be riding in the afternoon. All of our buses are radio dispatched and the drivers will be notified and your request documented. Our phones are answered via voicemail 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Please leave your child’s name and bus number or campus along with information on whether your child will miss the am or pm service or both.
I sent a note to the teacher that my Special Needs child was not going to be on the bus for a while and I noticed the bus came by anyway. Doesn’t the campus or teacher notify the bus department?
Notifying your child’s campus or teacher concerning a busing request or concern does not assure you that we have received the information. For any question, concern or request relating to your child’s bus service on Special Needs, please contact the Special Needs Transportation Office at 940-369-0311 or the Assistant Director of Transportation at 940-369-0300.
I like my special needs child’s car seat and want to send it on the bus. Can I just give it to the driver each morning?There are specific laws governing Child Passenger Safety on school buses and these laws are adhered to by the Denton ISD Transportation. Our drivers are trained in proper use of Child Passenger Safety Devices and students identified and meeting the state guidelines for transport in a Child Passenger Safety Device will be issued one by the Special Needs Transportation Department.
Why is my special needs child’s bus schedule changing, again?
Bus schedules are developed and maintained by the Special Needs Transportation department. Specifics such as: number of students assigned to a campus, geographic location and individualized needs are taken into consideration. As a rule, those students residing the farthest distance from the assigned campus are picked up first and the route works a path into the campus. Likewise, for delivery of students, the route is reversed. Due to adding or deleting students during a school year, your bus schedule may change. Parents will be notified prior to the change taken place by the Special Needs Transportation Office.
I was told the special needs bus my child is assigned would be here at a certain time but it seems like twice a week it runs late. Can you do something about this?
Special Needs Bus schedules are given in approximate times within a five-minute period for adjustment. Due to construction, traffic or waiting for a student to board, the bus may run slightly later than expected.
I’m stuck at an appointment and won’t be home to receive my Special Needs child when the bus arrives, what can I do?
Please notify Dispatch at 940-369-0333 and let them know what the circumstances are. We understand that occasionally a situation arises and will help you with alternatives available.
What if I want you to just leave my Special Needs child at the door until I get home?
During the ARD process, you will be asked to sign a form stating whether or not your child may be left unattended. If you have checked and signed in the “NO” box, we will be unable to leave your child at their residence without an adult present even by verbal request.
I’m at home but the driver won’t let my Special Needs child off the bus until I come to the door. Can you tell them to just open the door and let my child off?
Our team of drivers takes pride in the transporting of Special Needs students. Due to our department’s guidelines and for the safety of your child, parents must come to the bus or open the residence door to “wave” or make some contact with the driver before the student will be allowed off the bus. For those students who may be “left unattended” per the Transportation form, they must have access to their residence. Drivers will wait until these students begin entrance to the residence before departing. Any questions, please give us a call to discuss it.
What are the requirements to drive a school bus for Denton ISD?
Bus Driver Requirements:
- Pass Personnel Screening and Interview Process
- Complete a Reference and Background Check
- Criminal History Check (Pre-employment & Annual)
- Federal & State (CDL) Motor Vehicle Record Check
- Pass US DoT Physical
- Pass Drug & Alcohol Screen Test (Pre-employment & Random)
- Pass all Federal and Texas State Drivers Licensing (CDL) Requirements
- Complete Texas Education Agency Bus Driver Certification Course (20hrs)
- (8-hour Re-certification Course is required every 3 years)
- Complete Denton ISD Orientation & Training Course (20 hrs)
- Administration & Standard Operating Procedures 2 hrs
- Routing & Operations Procedures 2 hrs
- Fleet & Bus Maintenance/Care Procedures 2 hrs
- Traffic Regulation & Driving Procedures 6 hrs
- Student Management Procedures 5 hrs
- Special Needs Education Procedures 2 hrs
- Alcohol/Drug & Sexual harassment Orientation 1 hrs
- Attend required Safety & Training Classes
- Pass two announced & un-announced On-Route Observations by the Training & Safety Officer
- Comply with Federal, State & District Operational Policies and Procedures
Do I need a commercial driver’s license to operate a school bus?
Yes. To drive a school bus, you will need a Class B Commercial Drivers License (CDL) with passenger, air brake, and school bus endorsements.
How do I get the license?
Our professional driver training staff will provide you with the skills necessary to complete both the written and behind-the-wheel skills required for your CDL.
How long does this take?
Depending on your personal schedule, training may take a minimum of five days or up to two weeks or more. We attempt to schedule your training around your schedule.
Who pays for my CDL license?Drivers and Driver Trainees are responsible for payment of their own license. The initial Learner’s Permit costs $10.00. The Class B CDL costs $60 and is valid for six years.
You will receive a credit of $4 for each year remaining on a Class C (automobile) license
Where are applications available to drive a bus?You can fill out an application for employment on the human resources section of the Denton ISD website.
What if I have another question that isn't answered here?
Please call us at 940 369-0300 or email your questions or suggestions to us.