Transportation FAQ

Q. Is my student eligible for transportation?

Students are eligible for bus transportation if they live further than 1.0 road mile from the school they attend. Exceptions are allowed for special education students who are not ambulatory and their conditions require special transportation.

Q. HOW DO I ARRANGE FOR MY CHILD TO RIDE THE SCHOOL BUS?

Go to Skyward/Family Access to find your child's bus stop. There is no need to register in advance to ride the school bus . . . just show up at the designated stop 5 minutes prior to the posted stop time. If you cannot find a stop near your home please contact the transportation department - 360-804-2650. If your child is a special needs student please contact his/her special needs teacher or case manager to sign up for transportation services.

Q. WILL THE DISTRICT TRANSPORT MY CHILD TO AND FROM A DAYCARE FACILITY?

If you use a childcare facility (daycare) that is more than one road mile from the school, and space is available on the bus, daycare students may ride the school bus. If your childcare facility is outside the district, contact the Transportation department to make accommodations. Please contact the transportation office (360-804-2650) to check your child's eligibility for daycare school bus transportation. To determine eligibility the Transportation Department will need the exact address of the childcare facility.

Q. HOW DO I GET MY CHILD TO AND FROM SCHOOL IF WE LIVE LESS THAN ONE ROAD MILE FROM THE SCHOOL?

The parent/guardian is the person most knowledgeable about their child's abilities and is in the best position to make the final decision on the safest and most appropriate way to get him/her safely to and from school. Some options for consideration for students who live less than one mile from school include: walking; walking with a parent/guardian; walking in a group with other students/parents; being driven to school (by a parent/guardian, grandparents, friends, childcare provider etc.); carpooling; riding bikes; and public transportation.

Q. HOW ARE BUS STOPS DETERMINED?

Routes are designed to serve all students in an area in a safe and reasonable manner. Every effort is made to establish school bus stops near where students live. Additional considerations include keeping stops consistent for morning and afternoon routes, safe staging area off the roadway for the students, no school buses allowed on private drives and 500 feet of visibility both ways for oncoming traffic. If 500 feet of visibility is not possible, signage can be placed to warn upcoming traffic of a school bus stop ahead. At the middle and high school level the number of stops on a route typically decreases and student may need to walk a bit further than they did in elementary school. Stop locations and distances may also vary depending on the number of students in the area and the area type (urban/rural) being served.

Q. HOW DO I REQUEST A BUS STOP TO BE CHANGED OR ADDED?

Complete the Transportation Request Form for a change in bus stop. Each request is evaluated, which often includes a visit to the area by transportation administrators before a decision on the request is made. If a stop change is approved it typically takes 3-5 school days to implement. This allows us to notify other riders of the change and, when necessary, a bus or buses to be rerouted. Other reasons to modify a bus stop include,

  • Safety concern-conditions at the established bus stop do not meet the bus stop selection criteria as defined by the district guidelines.
  • Property owner complain - upon receipt of a concern from a resident adjacent or close by an established bus stop; if after working with the students and schools associated with the bus stop the concern cannot be resolved a relocation of the stop will be considered.

Q. I DON'T FEEL COMFORTABLE SENDING MY CHILD DOWN THE STREET TO CATCH THE BUS, WHY CAN'T THE STOP BE AT MY HOUSE?

Safety is our primary consideration when determining bus stops. The bus driver follows set procedures in executing each stop including stopping, observing, opening the door, boarding or releasing passengers, closing the door, etc. It is safer for stops to be distributed along a route to provide optimal distance and time for the driver to complete all safety action steps. More stops also increases the length of the bus ride.
Finally, we believe there is safety in numbers. Many students and parents find walking/waiting in groups provides extra security.

Q. I HAVE A SPECIAL NEEDS CHILD, HOW DO I ARRANGE FOR TRANSPORTATION SERVICES?

Contact your child's special needs teacher or case manager to begin the process for transportation services. Once the transportation office receives the transportation request from Special Services we will add your child to a special needs bus route and provide you with bus information.

Q. MY CHILD'S BUS RIDE SEEMS VERY LONG EVEN THOUGH WE LIVE ONLY 5 MINUTES FROM THE SCHOOL, CAN YOU TELL ME WHY?

Bus routes range from 15-60 minutes in length depending on the school and area/miles covered by the route. Although the time from home directly to school may be only 5 minutes, routing requirements sometimes result in a longer ride. The Monroe SD transports an average of 55 students per bus with some buses making 25 stops per run. Stops are designed for an equitable ride time for all students. If your student is first on in the morning then they would typically be first off in the afternoon and the opposite would also apply.

Q. What are the bus seating and capacity guidelines?

The basic seating guideline for the Monroe School District is: for students from kindergarten through grade 5, three students to a standard (30 inch width) seat; for grade 6 through 12, two to a seat: allowances, depending on student size and seating space are granted. No standees are permitted on school buses. Drivers will not overload a bus. If an overload exists an additional bus will be dispatched.

Compartmentalization is the industry standard used on a school bus to provide protection for the students. To comply each student needs to be seated facing forward with nothing extended into the aisle.

Q. How are drivers qualified and trained?

Monroe's 50+ drivers and substitute drivers meet the standards set by Washington law for school bus drivers. Each attends and must pass an authorization training class and exam. The classroom and behind-the-wheel training test their skills and judgment. During classes, drivers rehearse what might happen on a daily basis and practice emergency procedures. Each has a current First Aid and CPR training as well as a commercial driver's license. Each driver is at least 21 years old, has passed an FBI and Washington State Patrol criminal check and a pre-employment drug test. Each year our drivers take continual in-service training and attend safety awareness and training sessions along with random drug and alcohol testing.

Q. How is the decision to go on 2 hour delay, snow routes and school closures made?

Safety is paramount. A network of staff members check district roads beginning at 3 a.m. when there is a storm or prediction of one. They check out weather and road conditions and make a decision about school closures or delays.

Q. ARE SCHOOL BUSES SAFE?

School buses are thoroughly inspected by the Washington State Patrol (WSP) twice each year. Additionally, our buses are inspected by district personnel on a scheduled basis and routinely serviced. Traveling in a school bus is the safest form of ground transportation in the world.

Q. CAN A PARENT OR OTHER ADULT RIDE THE SCHOOL BUS?

Parents and other adults are generally not allowed to ride school buses with the exception of school field trips. Parents are allowed on the bus when they have completed the necessary paperwork to become a chaperone.

Q. ARE THERE ITEMS THAT ARE NOT ALLOWED ON THE SCHOOL BUS?

Yes . . . To keep students safe and to follow state law, the following items are not allowed on a school bus:
  • Oversized objects, such as athletic equipment and large musical instruments that cannot fit safely on a student's lap or between their legs in a seat. Large objects restrict a student's ability to board the bus without harming themselves and others or damaging the bus. State law (WAC 392-145-021) requires objects to sit lower than the window ledge, which is approximately 29 inches high in a school bus.
  • Glass objects such as bottles or jars.
  • Open containers of food and drink or gum.

For a complete list visit the Bus Rules & Student Conduct page.

Q. HOW CAN I BECOME A SCHOOL BUS DRIVER?

The Monroe SD Transportation Department is always looking for substitute drivers and offers training opportunities several times throughout the year. To learn more please call us at 360-804-2659.