FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
HOW DO I KNOW IF MY CHILD IS ELIGIBLE FOR TRANSPORTATION?
Students must live more than 2 miles from the school they are zoned to attend to be eligible for transportation. There are many ways to measure distance. For the purpose of determining eligibility, the distance measurement will be made along the shortest route using public roads from the property line of the prospective rider to the property line of the school. Please note that commercial mapping systems such as Google Maps, MapQuest, and Waze may not be able to accurately measure distances less than 2 miles. The transportation department uses a routing system to measure these distances. Also worth noting, the measurement is not the same as the safest walking distance to the school, which may be greater than or less than the route used to determine rider eligibility.
HOW IS THE 2-MILE DISTANCE MEASURED?
The 2-mile measurement is made from the property line of the residence to the property line of the campus along the shortest path using public roads. We follow strict guidelines from the Texas Education Agency (TEA), which governs the operation of the District’s transportation program and transportation funding from the state. TEA directs the District to measure distances in a reasonably accurate and consistent manner using the shortest route that can be traveled on publicly maintained roads between:
- An established prominent landmark at the student’s campus (such as the campus entrance or the student drop-off or pick-up point); and
- An established landmark at the student’s legal residence (such as the nearest property line, the driveway, or the front door entrance). (TEA school transportation allotment handbook, p. 29, 6-1)
MY CHILD'S BUS IS OVERCROWDED. CAN SOME CHILDREN BE PLACED ON ANOTHER BUS?
School bus sizes are stated in terms of passenger capacity. It is assumed that elementary school-aged children will ride three (3) per seat. Every attempt will be made to limit middle and high school students to ride two (2) per seat. Even if the bus has three (3) elementary students or two (2) middle or high school students in each seat, it will seem crowded, but it will not be over capacity. It is our goal to fully utilize all the space on all of the buses in our fleet.
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.
Since 2017, TEXAS requires that three-point seat belts be in school buses that are the model year 2018 or later, including buses chartered by school districts and used for events and other functions. The measure does not require that older buses be retrofitted with the restraints.
CAN THE DRIVER STOP AT MY HOUSE TO PICK UP OR DROP OFF MY CHILD?
Only certain students, whose needs are addressed through an IEP plan, are eligible for "curbside service." "Curbside service is normally restricted to situations where a less restrictive environment is not possible or where medical issues require this type of service. For other students, service is provided in accordance with district guidelines.
HOW SHOULD I REPORT MY ADDRESS AND TELEPHONE NUMBER CHANGES?
The school registrar should be contacted as soon as possible with all address and telephone number information changes. The registrar will put the information into the system allowing it to be downloaded into the transportation's routing software.
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.WHY DOES MY STUDENT NEED TO HAVE A STUDENT ID TO RIDE THE BUS?ALL Denton ISD students are required to have a student ID. These cards are printed and given to the students on their campus. ALL Denton ISD buses are equipped with GPS equipment and the student ID is part of this. The program was started in 2010 as part of our way of making student transportation safer for children and parents. The student ID allows parents to know when their students have loaded the bus or unloaded the bus.
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 the assigned bus. Students will be transported to/from a designated stop and to/from a designated school only. The Transportation Department assigns designated stops 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/guardians will not be accepted as authorization to ride a bus.
CAN A BUS STOP BE ADDED OR A STOP LOCATION CHANGED?There are many factors to take 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 operations.We have worked to establish stops located to best serve all students in your area. Therefore, we consider it a parent or guardian's 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 sent home by students riding the bus in advance of any major change and/or emailed to the parent's email on record.WHAT IS MY CHILD'S WALK-TO-STOP DISTANCE?The distance listed below is the maximum walk-to-stop distance for each age group. Distances are measured along public roads. Distances within apartment complexes or on private roads are not included in this calculation. If you reside on a road that is not accessible in a school bus, your stop will be placed at the nearest accessible safe location.Elementary: .25 milesMiddle: .50 milesHigh: 1 mile
WHAT HAPPENS IF A BUS IS LATE FOR 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.WE LIVE ACROSS THE STREET FROM THE 2 MILE LINE. WHY CAN'T MY CHILD GET ON THE BUS THAT STOPS NEARBY?This policy is based on distance, and the geography of each community is different. There may be homes within a community that are eligible for transportation next to or very near homes that are not. While it may appear to be a simple matter of extending services to non-eligible families that are close to existing stops, we are simply not able to do this without greatly impacting the ridership across the District.DO BUSES HAVE VIDEO CAMERAS?Most of the buses at Denton ISD operated video surveillance systems. This enhances security and safety on these buses.WHO SHOULD I CALL IF THE BUS DOES NOT ARRIVE TO PICK UP MY CHILD ON TIME?Your child should be at their bus stop five (5) minutes before the scheduled arrive time. Ten (10) minutes after your scheduled route time, you should call the appropriate Transportation Center office if needed. Please have your child’s bus number as well as the school, child’s name and stop location.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 THE BUS COME BACK TO PICK HIM/HER UP?
Students are required to be at bus stops 5 to 10 minutes prior to the departure time of the bus. Buses are scheduled to depart from 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 children should they miss the bus.DOES THE CAMPUS OR TEACHER NOTIFY THE BUS DEPARTMENT IF I SEND A NOTE TO THE TEACHER THAT MY STUDENT IS NOT GOING TO BE ON THE BUS?
Notifying your child’s campus or teacher concerning a transportation 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.SPECIAL NEEDS TRANSPORTATION FAQS
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.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.CAN I JUST GIVE MY CHILD'S CAR SEAT TO THE DRIVER EACH MORNING TO BE USED ON THE BUS?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 the 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 CHANGE FREQUENTLY?
Bus schedules are developed and maintained by the Special Needs Transportation department. Specifics such as the 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 the 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 taking 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 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 load, the bus may run slightly later than expected.
I AM STUCK AT AN APPOINTMENT AND WON'T 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 the 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 AM 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 them.
I HAVE TO WORK AND I AM NOT ABLE TO PICK UP MY STUDENT, CAN MY STUDENT BE PICKED UP OR DROPPED OFF AT MY PLACE OF EMPLOYMENT?
We follow strict guidelines by TEA and the places we are able to pick up and drop students off are places of residence, grandparents' residence, or licensed daycare.
STEPS TO OBTAIN A COMMERCIAL DRIVER'S LICENSE FAQ
WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS TO DRIVE A SCHOOL BUS FOR DENTON ISD?
- Complete a Reference and Background Check
- Pass Personel Screening and Interview Process
- 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)
- 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 the passenger, air brake, and school bus endorsements.
HOW DO I GET A CDL?
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 IT TAKE TO OBTAIN A CDL?
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 $25.00. The Class B CDL costs $91 and is valid for eight 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 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.