Transportation Frequently Asked Questions
What if my child's daily bus is late arriving home?
Contact our dispatch desk in the event of a delay at (951) 253-7830. We will make every attempt to contact the driver and establish an estimated time of arrival.
My child left an item on the bus. How can it be retrieved?
Typically, our driver will secure the item and return it to the student the following day. If there is an immediate need for the item, contact the Transportation Services Department at (951) 253-7830 for the bus’s estimated time of arrival at the yard. Arrangements can be made to assist in the recovery of the item.
What if our field trip bus is late?
There are various reasons why our buses may occasionally run behind schedule, from traffic congestion to an unforeseen breakdown. In the event our bus is late arriving for a field trip, please contact the dispatch desk at (951) 253-7830. A staff member will notify the school administrator of the estimated time of arrival.
What if I am not home to receive my Special Education child?
In the event a driver is unsuccessful in their attempt to deliver a student to their home because there was no responsible adult present to receive the student, the driver will make a second attempt. The driver will notify the dispatch desk with the student’s name and an estimated return time. The dispatcher will notify the school of the failed attempt and the estimated return time. In an effort to collaboratively develop strategies for frequent recurrences, a notice of the failed delivery attempt will be forwarded to the school site.
If a parent arrives home and discovers an attempt to deliver their child had been made, the parent should contact the dispatch desk at (951) 253-7830. Information regarding the estimated time of the second delivery will be provided.
Why does the school district charge a fee for students to ride the bus?
The state of California provides school districts with funding to specifically offset a portion of the cost associated with pupil transportation. The Lake Elsinore Unified School District receives approximately $2.2 million each year from the state for student busing. The actual cost of transporting our students exceeds $5 million annually. This leaves an operating deficit of approximately $2.8 million. The district must use the general operational fund to compensate for this deficit. In order to minimize this deficit, the district’s Transportation Services Department has established one of the lowest cost-per-mile rates of any school district in Riverside County. Charging a fee to those who use the district bus service reduces the deficit between state funding and operation costs.
Do other local school districts charge bus fees?
Yes. The Murrieta Valley Unified School District charges an annual fee of $375 per student and the Temecula Valley Unified School District charges $525 per student.
On the average, how much does it cost to bus each student?
The district currently transports approximately 4,700 students to and from school each day at an annual operating cost of approximately $5.3 million. The average cost to bus each student is approximately $1,064 per year.
What is the rate schedule for students to ride the bus?
If a parent chooses school bus transportation for their student and they live within the transportation zone, the annual bus fee is $300 per student. Families with more than one student will pay $290 for the second student, $250 for the third student and $1,000 for four or more students in the same family.
To be eligible for state funding, school districts must establish minimum walking distances (the distance between the school and the student’s home). These distances must fall within state criteria. General education students residing within the non-transportation zones are not eligible for district transportation.
Will students who are on the state “Free and Reduced Lunch” program be required to pay to ride the bus?
Currently, California law requires that students who come from qualified “low income” homes can receive their public school lunch at either no charge or at a reduced rate, depending on the family income level. State law also requires school districts to provide similar accommodations for students with regards to bus fees. If eligible, the current reduced rates are as follows:
- $200 for the first student
- $190 for the second student
- $150 for the third student
- $640 for four or more students in the same family
Why do I see large school buses on the road that are completely empty or with only a few students?
The average school bus in our district transports more than 50 students on each run. Some runs are smaller (mid-day kindergarten), and some are larger (high school). Mid-day kinder transportation is limited to students in special education programs when stipulated by an I.E.P. A school bus may also be empty or near empty when:
- The driver has just started on their route and has serviced only a few students at that point.
- The driver is ending their route and has few students remaining.
- The driver is transporting kindergarten students who live outside the walking distance.
Why doesn’t the district offer one-way bus passes or by-the-day passes?
Bus routes are established based on the number of student riders and the capacity of the bus. If the district were to offer one-way bus passes or by-the-day bus passes, there would be random vacant seats in buses, limiting the number of riders we could offer services to.
What happens when a student violates a bus safety rule?
The driver must determine if the violation requires a verbal warning, a written warning or a suspension from the bus. In making this determination, the driver must consider the type of safety rule that was violated and the number of previous violations a student may have.
If the driver determines that the violation requires a VERBAL warning, then no other disciplinary action will be taken at that time.
If the driver determines that the violation requires a WRITTEN warning, then a Student Transportation Warning Notice (STWN) will be issued.
If a student violates the bus safety rules for incidents of dangerous or illegal behavior (i.e., fighting, threats, alcohol, drugs, tobacco, weapons, smoking) or for repeated violations of other rules, a Student Transportation Suspension Notice (STSN) will be issued and the student will be suspended from riding the bus for the time period specified.
What happens once an STWN or STSN is written?
The bus driver must fill out the STWN or STSN, require the student to sign the notice and give a copy to the student to take home to his/her parent/guardian. The driver’s copy will be turned into the Transportation Services Department at the end of the shift.
The Transportation Services will send a copy of the STWN/STSN to the school site via fax and a copy will be mailed home to the parent/guardian.
If an STSN is written, Transportation Services staff members will follow the above steps and inform them that the school site administrator will be calling within 48 hours to schedule a disciplinary conference.
What is expected from the School Site Administrator?
The school site administrator must contact the parent within 48 hours and inform them that their child is suspended from the bus and schedule a disciplinary conference with the student, the parent/guardian and the driver. If necessary, this can occur via a telephone conference call.
What type of action might be taken on a suspension notice?
Based on the outcome of the conference, action will be taken per Board of Trustees Administrative Regulation 3540(d) as follows:
- First STSN – Three-day suspension
- Second STSN – Three-week suspension
- Third STSN (grades K-5) – Three-month suspension
- Third STSN (grades 6-12) – Suspension for the remainder of the school year
- Fourth STSN (grades K-5) – Suspension for the remainder of the school year
The school will fax a copy of the STSN (with the bottom portion completed) back to Transportation Services once the disciplinary conference has been held. The driver will then be notified of the disciplinary action taken.