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POLICIES

MISSION STATEMENTTRANSPORTATION POLICYELIGIBILITYNEW REQUESTS - PERMANENT CHANGE - REQUEST FOR STOP REVIEWTEMPORARY CHANGES - 

BEHAVIOUR GUIDELINES - TRANSPORTATION FOR SPECIAL NEEDS - JOINT CUSTODY - CHILD BOOSTER SEATS AND CAR SEATS - RIDE TIMES AND LOADING - 

CANCELLATION DUE TO INCLEMENT WEATHER - STUDENTS TRANSPORTED BY TAXI - COMPLAINT & APPEAL PROCEDURE - PARENT TRANSPORTATION


MISSION STATEMENT

Our mission is to provide a harmonized and cost effective transportation system with emphasis on safety and efficiency for all. Although transportation to and from school is the responsibility of the students and their parents or guardians, the Education Act states that “a board may provide for a pupil who is enrolled in a school that the board operates, transportation to and from the school that the pupil attends.” As such school transportation services are a privilege, not a right, and can be withdrawn if the service and expectations are not respected.

All routes and designated stops will be established by the Algoma & Huron-Superior Transportation Services (AHSTS) consortium on the basis of safety, time, efficiency, loading and economy. Policies and procedures have been established to ensure that school transportation services are reliable, equitable and safe.

TRANSPORTATION POLICY

In ongoing efforts at increasing efficiency through greater cooperation, the Algoma District School Board and the HuronSuperior Catholic District School Board and the purchase of services boards, le Conseil scolaire catholique du NouvelOntario and le Conseil scolaire du district du Grand-Nord de l’Ontario, have adopted common policies where possible regarding student transportation which will be organized and delivered by the Algoma & Huron-Superior Transportation Services (AHSTS) consortium.

The AHSTS will provide transportation services and adhere to its Policies and Procedures which have been approved by the Governance Committee and administered by the consortium.

ELIGIBILITY

The Algoma & Huron-Superior Transportation Services (AHSTS) consortium may offer transportation services to a student for schools located in the student’s catchment area. When the AHSTS receives a request for transportation from schools, the consortium will verify transportation eligibility and so inform the school who will then relay the information to the parent or guardian.

1. Eligibility by Student’s Address

A student’s address is the legal and permanent place of residence. Students may be picked up or dropped off at locations other than their residence address after approval from the Consortium provided that: a) the locations are within the school catchment area or school program area; and b) the approved pick-up or drop-off locations are consistent every day, Monday to Friday.

2. Eligibility by Walking Distances

The distances stated below shall be used to determine eligibility. The distances measured will be the shortest, safe walking route along road or walkway from home property to school property. The AHSTS, using transportation software with the appropriate municipal map, will make all measurements for transportation purposes. 

SAULT STE. MARIE & CENTRAL ALGOMA AREAS:

Elementary Schools: Transportation will be provided as follows: Junior Kindergarten students will be provided with door to door transportation when possible; Senior Kindergarten to grade 3 students who live beyond a distance of .75 km from their designated school; Grades 4 to 8 students who live beyond a distance of 1.5 km from their designated school; Students will be required to walk to and from regular school bus stops. Only those students who are eligible for transportation based on the above criteria will be allowed on buses.

Secondary Schools: Transportation will be provided as follows: Students enrolled in a secondary school who live beyond the distance of 2.25 km from their designated school. 

NORTHERN AREA (Chapleau, Hornepayne, Wawa & White River):

Elementary Schools: Transportation will be provided as follows: Junior Kindergarten students will be provided with door to door transportation when possible; Senior Kindergarten to grade 3 students who live beyond a distance of .75 km from their designated school; Grades 4 to 8 students who live beyond a distance of 1.5 km from their designated school; Students will be required to walk to and from regular school bus stops. Only those students who are eligible for transportation based on the above criteria will be allowed on buses.

Secondary Schools: Transportation will be provided as follows: Students enrolled in a secondary school who live beyond the distance of 2.25 km from their designated school. c)

EASTERN AREA (Blind River, Elliot Lake) 

Elementary Schools: Transportation will be provided as follows: Junior & Senior Kindergarten students will be provided with door to door transportation when possible; Grades 1 to 8 students who live beyond a distance of 1.6 km from their designated school; Students will be required to walk to and from regular school bus stops. Only those students who are eligible for transportation based on the above criteria will be allowed on buses.

Secondary Schools: Transportation will be provided as follows: Students enrolled in a secondary school that live beyond the distance of 2.25 km from their designated school.

3. Eligibility by Program:

Students who qualify to attend programs outside their home school catchment area, such as Magnet or French Immersion programs, may be transported according to the above walking distance eligibility criteria. Students who, during the school year, opt out of these programs will continue to be transported until the end of the current school year. Only those students who will graduate in the following year (grade 8 and grade 12), will continue to be transported the next year. 

4. Eligibility by Health and Safety

The AHSTS will consider requests for transportation to students when warranted for health and safety reasons to overcome traffic or other forms of hazards. All such requests must be directed to the appropriate Superintendent of Education.

5. Web Access as a Service for Parents

The AHSTS has provided public access to Web Query (a web based program) which allows determination of a student’s eligibility to their school and programs. This is currently accessible on each of the partner board’s web sites.

NEW REQUESTS

New requests for transportation services, permanent changes or cancellations will be handled by the Algoma & Huron Superior Transportation Services (AHSTS) consortium.

Any new request for school transportation services, cancellations or changes of more than 30 days must be made by the parent / guardian through the school to the AHSTS. For safety reasons the AHSTS will only discuss transportation arrangements with the parent / guardian identified by the school as so authorized.

1. The parent / guardian shall: a) Contact the school for all transportation requests.

2. The school shall: a) Confirm the identity of the person making the request as that being either the parent or guardian authorized to do so. b) Relay the request in a timely manner to the Consortium either directly, via fax, or email. Form TP-004a is required for this purpose and is available on the AHSTS consortium’s website or it can be picked up from the school. 

3. The Algoma & Huron-Superior Transportation Services Consortium shall: a) evaluate the request based on the criteria established in the transportation policies and procedures; b) validate that the new address is a permanent change in effect for more than 30 days; c) plan and organize transportation for eligible students; otherwise, notify school that the request has been denied; d) provide the school and the school bus operator with the student’s bus route, the pick-up and drop-off times and the bus stop location; e) ensure that any other students affected by new changes are properly notified in a timely manner; and f) ensure that current student data is maintained in the transportation software.

4. Request for Stop Review: a) Parents or guardians requesting a review of their student’s stop(s) must complete the Request for Stop Review Form TP-004b which is available on the AHSTS consortium’s website or it can be picked up from the school. This completed form is to be submitted to the school. b) The school shall verify the information and forward it to the Consortium as in 2 a) & b) above.

PERMANENT CHANGE

DOWNLOAD PDF FORM

REQUEST FOR STOP REVIEW

DOWNLOAD PDF FORM

TEMPORARY CHANGES

The Algoma & Huron Superior Transportation Services (AHSTS) consortium’s main focus is the safe and efficient transportation of students to and from school.

Student safety is a priority, and as such, requests for temporary transportation changes for less than thirty (30) days will not be considered unless it is an extreme exception. In rare circumstances of extreme emergency or for compassionate reasons, a request may be considered. Should the request be granted, the student will be assigned to the nearest existing stop only and will be contingent on excess capacity on the bus. Each request must be made to the school’s principal at least 48 hours before the change is required. The principal will review the request and decide whether or not it is reasonable and legitimate. The principal will then complete the necessary form (TP-005a) and fax it to the Consortium for final approval and stop assignment. This form is available on the AHSTS consortium’s website. New stops will not be created for temporary changes.

BEHAVIOUR GUIDELINES

Jeopardizing the safety of students on a bus or in a taxi will not be tolerated. An offence is constituted by a written “Bus Behaviour Report” submitted by a driver to a Principal. The Principal shall notify parents by phone and in writing of all reported incidents.

1. The bus/taxi driver is responsible for the safety of students on the bus/taxi. The Principal is to give assistance to the driver and will determine consequences of misbehaviour and the reinstatement of transportation service for the offending students. Consequences are at the sole discretion of the Principal who will consider the following mitigating factors for each student: a) 1 st offence – The Principal shall provide a warning or suspend transportation privileges for a period of up to three (3) school days. Parents shall be notified. b) 2 nd offence – The Principal shall suspend transportation privileges for a period of up to five (5) school days. Parents shall be notified. c) 3 rd offence – The Principal shall suspend transportation privileges for a minimum of five (5) school days up to the balance of the school year. Parents shall be notified.

2. Any subsequent offence shall result in the loss of bus/taxi privileges for the remainder of the school year.

TRANSPORTATION FOR SPECIAL NEEDS

In accordance with the Accessibility for Ontarians Disability Act, the Algoma & Huron-Superior Transportation Services (AHSTS) consortium is committed to accommodate, within reason, all students that are identified by their school board as requiring transportation for special needs.

The AHSTS will endeavor to integrate all students with special needs on regular routes where possible. A parent/guardian may make a request for special transportation which shall be considered if:

1. the student has a permanent physical disability that prevents the student from boarding a regular bus and walking to his/her seat; or

2. the student attends a specialized program outside his/her school boundary area; or

3. the student has been identified by the School Board’s Special Education Services as requiring special transportation; or

4. the student has a medical condition requiring special transportation (in this case, the request must be accompanied by a doctor’s note that clearly specifies the student’s limitations); or

5. the student attends a treatment centre within the Board.

The AHSTS shall:

1. prepare a list of all the students who require special transportation that are currently identified by the Boards as part of the yearly planning schedule,. This list is submitted to the Board’s Special Education Coordinators for their yearly review;

2. meet with the Special Education Coordinators to confirm yearly approvals of all students with special needs;

3. coordinate the most cost-effective transportation for approved requests;

4. code approvals and special transportation requirements in the Edulog system to allow for yearly review by the authorizing person and proper transportation planning;

5. verify the invoicing for proper account distribution. Upon receiving a new request, the AHSTS shall refer the parent or guardian to the school principal. This process recognizes that school principals know their students and are in the best position to investigate the request and make a recommendation in relation to the situation. The school principal will investigate and contact his/her Board’s Special Education Superintendent/Coordinator for approval. If approved, the Superintendent/Coordinator will forward an email to the AHSTS and principal.

JOINT CUSTODY

The Algoma & Huron-Superior Transportation Services (AHSTS) consortium recognizes that students of joint custody parents may require special consideration regarding their transportation needs.

1. One address must be established as the “primary” address to which transportation services are applied. The alternate address is considered the “secondary” address and services to this address are assigned to the closest approved existing bus stop provided there is capacity available. The student is expected to walk to an existing stop for the secondary address.

2. It is the parent’s/guardian’s responsibility to ensure that students in the primary grades (JK-3) get on/off at the secondary stop location. All JK students must be met by a parent/guardian or their designate.

It is the ultimate responsibility of the parent to ensure that the student boards the proper bus and disembarks at the proper stop.

CHILD BOOSTER SEATS AND CAR SEATS

On December 6, 2004, the Ontario Legislature passed Bill 73, An Act to Enhance the Safety of Children and Youth on Ontario’s Roads. The Algoma & Huron-Superior Transportation Services (AHSTS) consortium’s responsibility is to ensure that this Bill is adhered to by all contractors.

The AHSTS requires that operators supply booster seats and forward facing car seats as regulated in its taxis and public vehicles with a seating capacity of less than 10 persons (non chrome yellow school bus purpose vehicles). It will be the responsibility of the parents or guardians or the designated school personnel to ensure that the children are properly buckled into their seats from home to school and vice versa. It is the parent’s or guardian’s responsibility to contact the AHSTS when the student no longer meets the above requirements. Any booster or car seat that has been involved in an accident will be replaced. The operator must maintain an inventory list of booster and car seats and must withdraw them on their expiration date. Operators will be responsible for the care and cleanliness of car seats and booster seats.

RIDE TIMES AND LOADING

The Algoma & Huron-Superior Transportation Services (AHSTS) consortium endeavours to plan efficient routes in order to transport students to and from school safely.

The AHSTS shall consider the student ride times and student loads when planning bus routes. Whenever possible, students will not exceed the following amount of time each way on a school bus:

60 minutes – junior kindergarten to grade 8;

90 minutes – grades 9 to 12.

The length of ride time is calculated based on normal traffic and weather conditions. For students who reside in remote or isolated areas, or attend specialized programs, ride times may exceed the above guidelines. Bus loading guidelines shall be as follows whenever possible:

Grades JK-6 - Manufactured rated capacity of school bus (3 to a seat)

Grades 7 to 12 – Manufactured rated capacity less 33% (2 to a seat)

Standing on the bus or sitting in stairwell will not be permitted under any circumstance.

CANCELLATION DUE TO INCLEMENT WEATHER

The decision to cancel school transportation is the responsibility of the Supervisor of the Algoma & Huron-Superior Transportation Services (AHSTS) consortium in consultation with the school bus operators, Environment Canada, the Directors of Education and the municipalities.

When transportation services are cancelled, schools may remain open. The Supervisor will consult with the Directors of Education for their decision as to whether schools will remain open.

The parent or guardian makes the final decision as to whether or not conditions are safe to send their child to school.

The designated Bus Operators will report conditions to the Supervisor of the AHSTS who will:

a) contact the Directors of Education who will notify the principals;

b) call the Bus Operators affected;

c) inform the media; and

d) inform the contact for school crossing guards.

1. All Day Cancellation The AHSTS, through an established contact list, will relay the cancellation information to the media and board communication staff. The AHSTS will post all cancellation and route delays on its website as well as the Board’s website. If bus routes or transportation services are cancelled in the morning; the decision remains in effect for the entire school day. It is then the responsibility of parents or guardians to provide transportation to and from school for their child.

2. Emergency Cancellation (throughout the day) Inclement weather conditions sometimes occur after students have arrived at school. A decision to remain in school or to dismiss early will be made in consultation with the Directors of Education. Should a decision be that buses leave early, the schools will be responsible for contacting parents. The Supervisor of the AHSTS will contact the media.

In the event of inclement or poor weather conditions in specific areas, Principals may request early dismissal; however approval from the Directors of Education is required.

STUDENTS TRANSPORTED BY TAXI

The Algoma & Huron Superior Transportation Services (AHSTS) consortium may provide transportation services through an agreement with a taxi provider.

1. Parent or Guardian Responsibilities The parent or guardian shall: a) provide a consistent pick-up and drop-off address for the student. This may be a home address or daycare provider address; b) immediately notify the AHSTS through the school of any changes to the pick-up or drop-off locations; c) cancel taxi service with a minimum of ½ hour notice by contacting the consortium; d) contact the school to inform them of their child’s absence e) assist their child into/out of the vehicle f) secure and release their child into/out of seat belt harness and/or booster seat.

2. Failure to Cancel Service Parents must ensure that taxi service is cancelled when not required. The following procedure will apply when repeated failure to cancel taxi service occurs: a) The first failure to report a cancellation will result in a verbal reminder to the parent or guardian. b) Subsequent failure to report a cancellation will result in a minimum of a one (1) day suspension up to and including a permanent suspension of taxi privileges.

3. Behaviour Behaviour issues must be reported by the taxi company to the school on the appropriate forms and will result in the following progressive discipline procedures: a) The first report will result in a verbal reminder to the parent or guardian. b) Subsequent reports will result in a minimum of a one (1) day suspension up to and including a permanent suspension of taxi privileges.

4. Student Identification A student’s name, grade, school pick-up and drop-off location and contact telephone numbers will be provided to the taxi operator and driver. Appropriate information for a student with high needs (for example safety risk, physical need or relevant medical condition) will be provided to the taxi operator and driver. A parent or guardian and school personnel must be present before a student with high needs is picked up or dropped off.

5. Junior and Senior Kindergarten All junior and senior kindergarten students being dropped off by a taxi must be met by a parent, guardian or school personnel. 6. Early Returns It will be the parent or guardian’s responsibility to provide alternate transportation when a student is sent home early.

COMPLAINT & APPEAL PROCEDURE

A parent/guardian who is in disagreement with the way in which policies and procedures have been applied by the Algoma & Huron-Superior Transportation Services (AHSTS) consortium may appeal that decision.

The procedure is as follows:

1. The transportation staff will manage complaints by providing parents or guardians with a complete explanation and, as necessary, a copy of the pertinent Transportation Policy or Procedure. If the parent is not satisfied with that response: a) the transportation staff will refer the parent or guardian to the Supervisor; and b) if the complaint is not resolved at that level, the parent or guardian will be given the opportunity to appeal.

2. Appeals must be made in writing and directed to the attention of the Supervisor of the AHSTS consortium.

3. Written appeals must include a full description of the circumstances related to the appeal including the basis for the appeal.

4. The Supervisor will review the appeal and provide a response in writing within fifteen (15) working days.

5. If the parent or guardian is unsatisfied with the Supervisor’s response, the appeal may be referred in writing to the Administrative Committee of AHSTS consortium.

6. The Administrative Committee’s decision is final.

7. The parent or guardian will be informed in writing of the final appeal decision.

PARENT TRANSPORTATION 

Under unique and special circumstances the Algoma & HuronSuperior Transportation Services (AHSTS) consortium may procure the services of parents or guardians to transport their own children.

1. Responsibilities of the Parent or Guardian Parents or guardians shall: a) enter into an agreement with the AHSTS and conform to all of its prescribed requirements Form TP-032(a); and b) submit monthly Requests for Reimbursement to the AHSTS - TP-032(b).

2. Responsibilities of the Algoma & Huron-Superior Transportation Services Consortium The AHSTS shall: a) monitor compliance to the requirement of the agreement; b) obtain monthly attendance records from the school; and c) reimburse parent or guardian according to approved rates.