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Important notice - Transportation changes

Oct. 3, 2017

In response to the need expressed by members of the Winnipeg School Division community, the Winnipeg School Division (WSD) Board of Trustees has passed a motion to revise the transportation policy to include provisions for courtesy transportation services.

Policy EEA Transportation of Students
Section 2.4
If requested, courtesy services may be provided if all conditions are met, to pupils who, under Board Policy, do not qualify for school bus transportation:

a. agreement by parents that if the seat is required at a later date for a pupil who qualifies for transportation, the parents/guardian would have to make other arrangements within seven (7) days' notice;
b. services will be based on seat availability on the bus (not to exceed 90% capacity);
c. no additional costs to the division are incurred by having the student ride on the bus;
d. must be existing stops as buses will not be rerouted to accommodate pupils;

e. no increase in route time as identified in the Public Schools Act;
f. the passenger size and capacity of the buses will not be increased to accommodate pupils;
g.confirmation of service to be provided no later than October 31
This policy does not apply to noon hour runs for Nursery and Kindergarten students.

This provision DOES NOT affect any students currently receiving transportation, and no new routes or stops will be added to the existing schedule. The number of students who are eligible for transportation varies from month to month and even from day to day, depending on movement of students within the division and new to the division. By October 31, scheduling has stabilized enough that we can offer a limited number of empty seats for courtesy transportation.

Courtesy transportation seats are not guaranteed for the full school year as students who move into the division or onto a new bus route, who meet full eligibility requirements, will have precedence over a courtesy seat assignment.

For those applicants who meet specific criteria (see below), confirmation of courtesy transportation service requires 7 to 10 days to process.

Courtesy transportation criteria:

  • Grade level – first priority based on grade and age (youngest to oldest)
  • Distance from school (farthest to closest)
  • Program needs of the student
  • Family circumstances
  • Reminder – no new routes or stops added (see Transportation Policy EEA section 2.4 above)

The WSD transportation policy meets all of the provincial regulatory requirements to ensure that students who live further than 1.6 km, who have exceptional learning needs or who live in hazard areas are accommodated. WSD also provides transportation to Kindergarten to Grade 6 language and alternative program students, and for Nursery students attending French immersion milieu schools.

To apply for courtesy transportation, complete the WSD Courtesy Seat Transportation Application and submit it to your child's school principal. If you have additional questions, please contact the Supervisor of Transportation Services office at 204-775-0231.

Courtesy Seat Application Form

Questions and Answers

If my child is not eligible according to WSD transportation policy, but has a special circumstance or exceptional situation, what alternatives is the division offering?
If your Nursery to Grade 6 child is not eligible for WSD transportation, you may apply for a courtesy transportation seat for the 2017/2018 school year only. Please note that a courtesy seat is not guaranteed for the entire year and criteria have been established to determine who receives first access to courtesy transportation. Courtesy transportation, like eligible transportation, is only available to students from Nursery to Grade 6. It is not available to students from Grade 7 to 12.

What criteria is courtesy transportation being based on?

  • Grade level – first priority based on grade and age (youngest to oldest)
  • Distance from school (farthest to closest)
  • Program needs of the student
  • Family circumstance

Does this apply to out of catchment (School of Choice) students living outside of Winnipeg School Division but attending a WSD School?
The policy does not provide transportation for out of catchment (School of Choice) requests for students living outside of WSD boundaries.

How do I apply for courtesy transportation for my child?
You may apply for courtesy transportation by completing the WSD Courtesy Seat Transportation Application and submitting it to your child's school principal. Each child requires a separate application.

When will I know if my child has transportation?
The WSD Transportation Department requires 7 to 10 days to process a courtesy transportation application. If a seat is available, you will be informed in a letter from WSD Transportation with information on the route and schedule and first day of pickup.

My child met all the criteria but did not get courtesy transportation – why?
Courtesy transportation seats are not guaranteed for the school year as students who move into the division or onto a new bus route, who meet full eligibility requirements, will have precedence over a courtesy seat assignment. If a courtesy seat is available, it will be assigned to the student whose needs meet the most criteria.

How much notice will you give me if my child is going to lose access to courtesy transportation?
Unfortunately, there is often very little notice when a student who fully meets eligibility requirements needs that seat. We will do our best to provide some notice to the parent/guardian of a student using courtesy transportation, but the situation may change within a day or two, and it is the parent's/guardian's responsibility to ensure their child gets to school.

What is WSD going to do for students who aren't eligible for transportation next year?
WSD Administration is studying fee for service and courtesy transportation and will make a recommendation to the WSD Board of Trustees for possible implementation in the 2018/2019 school year. Please be sure to watch for your opportunity to voice your position at upcoming budget consultations.

How will the transportation changes affect students in inclusive education programs?
There are no changes for students in inclusive education programs.

Will students attending French Immersion programs still receive transportation?
Students whose home is 1.6 kilometers or further from their designated catchment French Immersion School will continue to receive transportation to their designated catchment school.

Will my child be transported to the French Immersion school that we choose for them?
If the nearest French Immersion school to your home is within 1.6 kilometers, but you choose to send your child to a school further away, transportation is not automatically provided but you can apply for a possible courtesy transportation seat.

Will a student receive transportation to a school of choice within the school division?
If the student is eligible to be transported to the original designated school (ie. Lives further than 1.6 kilometers from their catchment area school), then the school division must provide transportation to that school.

What transportation is provided for my child if we live more than 1.6 kilometers from the designated school but they are in a daycare that is within 1.6 kilometers distance of the school?
In this case, you may apply for a possible courtesy transportation seat.

Per policy, transportation is only provided if BOTH home and daycare are 1.6 kilometers or greater from the student's designated school. For example:

  1. A student living within 1.6 kilometers of their designated school but attending school from a daycare that is further than 1.6 kilometers does not qualify for transportation.
  2. A student living further than 1.6 kilometers of their designated school but attending school from a daycare that is within 1.6 kilometers does not qualify for transportation.

Student Transportation

Winnipeg School Division will provide for transportation services where necessary and subject to WSD regulations, The Public Schools Act and Regulations thereto, and The Highway Traffic Act. The Transportation Supervisor (under the general direction of the Secretary Treasurer) is responsible for the implementation and operation of pupil transportation within Board Policy and these regulations.              

 

 

Bus and school cancellation information

1.  Bus cancellation

During the school year there may be times when school bus transportation is cancelled due to inclement weather or poor driving conditions, but schools will remain open. 

School bus transportation for all school divisions in the City of Winnipeg is cancelled when the wind chill reaches -45° C by 6:15 a.m. based on the Environment Canada readings at The Forks, Winnipeg (click here for latest readings at The Forks). When bus transportation is cancelled in the morning, it will not resume later in the day even if weather conditions improve.

All major Winnipeg media outlets are contacted in the early morning and are asked that they broadcast and/or post bus cancellation information.

2.  Severe Weather Conditions

Severe weather conditions and poor roads may extend the running time of some buses, resulting in late arrival and departure.

Parents/guardians should make sure that children are suitably clothed until picked up and that they have a place to go in the event the bus does not arrive. Parents/guardians must also ensure that children have a place to go after the return trip.

Who Can Access Transportation Services

Special Education: Students who have physical, mental, and/or emotional disabilities are provided with school bus transportation.
 
Language and Alternative Programs: Students in Kindergarten to Grade 6 in a language or alternative program, and Nursery students attending one of WSD’s three French immersion milieu schools or Aboriginal education school, whose residence/daycare is 1.6 kilometers or further from the school.

Nursery students attending one of WSD's three French immersion milieu schools are also bused subject to distance requirements.
 
Special situations: There are a number of special situations where transportation is provided to accommodate safety considerations or geographic locations.

Requests for Special Education transportation services should be directed to the Inclusion Support Services at 204-774-4525; all other requests for transportation services should be directed to the student's school. All enquiries regarding scheduling and operations should be referred to the Winnipeg School Division's transportation department at 204-789-0452 (8:00 a.m. - 4:30p.m.).

In lieu of school bus transportation, students may be provided with bus tickets for the following:
Special Education - where students can safely utilize transit services and in special circumstances.
Special Circumstances - individual schools may be provided an allocation for bus tickets for students due to special circumstances. 
 

Parent's/Guardian's responsibilities

  • Training children in acceptable behaviour and safety.
  • Ensuring that children are suitably clothed to withstand weather extremes, taking special care during very cold weather to ensure that students are properly cared for until the bus arrives.
  • Seeing that their children get to the pick-up point on time, and behave in a responsible manner at the bus stop.
  • Ensuring that an adult is available to meet the bus for all special education, special needs, nursery and kindergarten students.
  • Providing for alternate arrangements for their children in the event a bus does not arrive or is late due to unforeseen circumstances.
  • Cooperating with the school in correcting their child’s behavior following reports of misbehaviour on the bus.
  • Understanding and accepting the fact that neither the bus driver nor the principal has the authority to change the bus route or schedule.

Students' responsibilities 

  • Getting to the bus stop on time.
  • Behaving in a responsible manner at the bus stop, on the bus, and during loading and unloading.
  • Following the instructions of the driver.

Safety

  1. Students should remain at least 2 metres from the curb until the bus is stopped and the loading door opened. Loading and unloading should be conducted in an orderly and safe manner.
  2. Safe behaviour on the bus requires that students remain seated and quiet. Disruptive behaviour causes the driver distraction and creates a safety hazard.

Student behaviour

The driver is responsible for the safe operation of the school bus. He/she requires the support of the parents and the school.
 
The principal has the authority to suspend students from riding the school bus.
 
The Public Schools Act states: Passenger Behaviour
 
13(1) “The principal of a school whose pupils are being transported in the school bus has the same disciplinary authority over the pupils during the period in which they are in, entering upon, or alighting from the school bus, as is provided by the regulations under The Education Administration Act.”
 
13(2) “Where a pupil in a school bus persists in conduct likely to be detrimental or hazardous to the welfare of the passengers, the principal has the same authority as is provided by the regulations under The Education Administration Act.”
 
13(3) “The driver of a school bus shall report to the principal any misconduct of pupils while entering, leaving, or being conveyed in a school bus under that driver’s charge.”
 

Unacceptable behaviour

Any behaviour which could endanger safety on the school bus is unacceptable. Examples are:
  • Failure to follow driver’s instructions
  • Possession of dangerous weapons or objects
  • Possession or use of drugs or alcohol
  • Failure to stay seated
  • Fighting, poking, hitting or pushing
  • Throwing objects
  • Vandalism
  • Putting arms or head out the window
  • Profanity
  • Smoking
  • Loud talking or yelling
  • Littering
  • Spitting
  • Teasing
  • Rudeness
  • Eating

 

Disciplinary action

Students are expected to behave in a responsible manner during loading and unloading and while the bus is enroute.
 
Unacceptable behaviour may result in disciplinary action.

Minor Problems

First Infraction: Driver warns student. Records details, informs principal. Principal takes appropriate action.
 
Second Infraction: Warning is repeated and recorded. Principal is informed. Principal takes appropriate action and may inform parents/guardians.
 
Third Infraction: Driver informs principal, records details. Principal treats as major problem and informs parents/guardians. Transportation privileges may be revoked.

 

Major Problems

First Infraction: Driver informs principal, records details. Principal takes appropriate action and informs parents/guardians.
Second Infraction: Driver informs principal, records details. Student is suspended from the bus. Return of bus privilege depends on agreement between parents and principal.
 
Subsequent Infraction: Driver informs principal, records details. Principal informs parents/guardians. Bus privileges may be revoked. The Winnipeg School Division retains the right to suspend a student permanently from the bus at any stage. The following inappropriate and dangerous behaviour while entering, leaving or being conveyed by bus will result in an automatic suspension of transportation privileges:
  • behaviour resulting in physical or psychological harm to other students
  • behaviour resulting in physical harm to the bus driver, transportation aide or other adult on the bus.
  •  

Wheelchair standards on school buses

Children using wheelchairs which do not meet the standards below will be expected to transfer to a school bus seat, (if a therapist deems this is safe for the student), or will need to have alternate transportation provided by the Transportation Supervisor.
  1. Maximum amount of camber = 6 degrees on wheels. This will allow the proper securement on any type of restraint system. All wheelchairs must have wheel locks and seatbelts.
  2. Maximum width of chair not to exceed 29 inches.
  3. Door opening height will be 59.5 inches on newer buses. The length of the ramp is 48 inches, therefore the chair and occupant height/length should not exceed these dimensions when possible.
  4. Wheelchair back must come to at least the bottom of the user’s shoulder blades.
  5. Push handles are required on all wheelchairs (for evacuation purposes).
  6. Trays should not be used during transportation unless they are a necessary part of the child’s support system – determined by the therapist. Storage of trays to be determined by the Transportation Supervisor.
  7. Trays which will be used during transportation should have a mechanism to limit how far the tray can be slid (in case of accident).
  8. Backs which fold forward must have a position lock and be secured.
  9. Q-straint lap belt must be able to go around the user and be positioned properly against the pelvis for safe and effective use. Some wheelchair armrests interfere with the position of this belt. Chairs should be wholly or partially open sided to allow for the lap belt.
  10. The Transportation Supervisor has the authority to deem whether a wheelchair is transportable or not.
 

Carry on items

Carry on items that may be considered dangerous to the safety and/or compartmentalization concept (those with sharp edges, or dangerously unsafe items for the riders on the bus (e.g. skates), must be transported in enclosed athletic bags on the school bus and kept under the occupants’ seat.
 
Non carry items (including brooms, hockey sticks, shovels, large pieces of athletic equipment, large musical instruments, etc.) are not allowed on the bus with passengers, as they do not fall within the Manitoba Regulation 465/88 and may interfere with the safe transportation of passengers.
 

Contact information

 
A)  All Regular / Special Education Programs
Requests for transportation service, reporting changes of address or anticipated long term absences (over three days) - please telephone student’s school.
 
B) Transportation Information
  1. Scheduling, operations and enquiries – refer to the Winnipeg School Division Transportation Department at 204-789-0452 (8:00 a.m.– 4:30 p.m.).

  2. Transportation Supervisor - Curtis Basso @ 204-789-0452.
 
C) Daily Information
Bus time enquiries, daily absences, lost articles, call Radio Dispatch (7:00 a.m. - till last child is dropped off) at:
 
        • WINNIPEG SCHOOL DIVISION - 204-586-8800
        • HANDI-HELPER - 204-999-9949
        • W/C SERVICES - 204-982-0799
        • DUFFY'S TAXI - 204-925-1305

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Student Transportation

Winnipeg School Division will provide for transportation services where necessary and subject to WSD regulations, The Public Schools Act and Regulations thereto, and The Highway Traffic Act. The Transportation Supervisor (under the general direction of the Secretary Treasurer) is responsible for the implementation and operation of pupil transportation within Board Policy and these regulations.              



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