Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Who must be transported?
A. In accordance with State law, N.J.S.A. 18A:39-1, all public elementary school students (grades K-8) who live more than 2 miles from their school and all public secondary school students (grades 9-12) who live more than 2 ½ miles from their school are entitled to transportation. These students are said to live "remote from school". Whenever any school district is required to provide transportation to students attending regular public school programs, students attending nonpublic schools who meet those distance requirements may also be entitled to transportation services. In addition, sstudents who are classified with special needs in special education programs receive transportation in accordance with their IEP.
Q. How is the distance between a student’s home and school measured?
A. Measurement is made by the shortest distance along public roadways or walkways between the entrance to the student’s home closest to the roadway or walkway to the nearest public entrance of the school building.
The school must be a nonprofit school;
The school must be located within the state and may be located no more than twenty miles from the student’s home;
The cost of the transportation may not exceed the annual maximum expenditure set by law each year;
Students must be in grades kindergarten through grade twelve; and
Students must meet the entrance age requirements for the public school students in the resident school district.
If the cost of the transportation to be provided to the nonpublic school exceeds the annual maximum expenditure, then the school district may not provide the transportation, but instead must pay the student’s parent or legal guardian that amount in lieu of transportation.
Q. Is it a district responsibility to provide transportation for students who live less than remote from school when hazardous road conditions exist?
A. Boards of education are not required by law to provide busing for students who live less than remote from school even for safety reasons. However, boards are permitted, at their own discretion and expense, to provide transportation for students who reside less than remote from school and may charge the student’s parents or legal guardians for this service. Municipalities may also contract with boards of education for this service and charge the parents. This transportation service is called subscription busing.
Q. Where can I purchase subscription busing?
A. Subscription busing may be purchased from your own school district, another school district transporting students to that school, or a coordinating transportation services agency (CTSA) providing busing to that school. A board of education or CTSA may provide this service at their own discretion.
Q. Who is responsible for safe travel along public roadways or walkways?
A. Case law has long held that safety along public roadways and walkways is a municipal responsibility. It is for this reason that municipalities install sidewalks, traffic signals and signs, and paint crosswalks. Pursuant to Section 40A:9-154.1 of the New Jersey statutes, school crossing guards are appointed by the municipality and are under the supervision of the chief of police or other chief law enforcement officer.
Q. How long may a school bus be used to transport students in New Jersey?
A. Most school buses can be used for twelve years from the date of manufacture, or the end of the school year in which that date occurs. Vehicles with a Gross Vehicle Weight exceeding 25,000 pounds may be used for twenty years.
Q. Are school buses required to be equipped with passenger seat belts?
A. All vehicles manufactured after October 1992 are required to be equipped with lap-type seat belts or other child restraint systems.
Q. What is being done to ensure that students are safely transported to and from school?
A. School buses are inspected at least twice each year by special school bus inspection teams from the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission.
School bus drivers are required to hold a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) with special endorsements, and are, therefore, also required to meet federal standards for alcohol and drug testing. These standards include testing upon initial employment followed by random tests. In addition, school bus drivers must undergo a physical examination every two years, a criminal background check upon initial employment and at the time of renewal of their CDL, and submit an annual driver’s abstract (i.e., a history of motor vehicle violations).
Q. Has the school transportation efficiency plan resulted in any actual efficiencies?
A. Yes, since the inception of the School Transportation Efficiency Plan, the number of districts falling below the state standard of 120 percent vehicle utilization has decreased from 489 school districts to 140, and the number of students transported through coordinated transportation services has grown from approximately 8,000 to roughly 63,000.