Frequently Asked Questions
How are bus stops and routes determined?
Every Beech Grove student who is eligible for transportation is assigned a specific bus stop and route number. The Routing Specialist in the Department of Transportation uses the VersaTrans software program to determine required bus stops. VersaTrans considers bus seating capacity, student data, zoning information, and safety variables during processing to create the safest, most efficient bus routes possible. We strive to place bus stops no more than 1/8 mile from each rider's home, although the distance to most stops is far less.
Why does our bus stop change from year to year?
Each year students move in and out of our community, plus, students advance in grade levels. Therefore, stops change to accommodate all students in the area. Our routing software, VersaTrans, calculates all students in the area and walk distances to each stop, then determines the safest location for all students.
The bus passes my house on the way to stop up the street. Why can't it just stop and pick up my child at home?
Please remember that we transport approximately 2,000 students every day, so it is impossible to provide door-to-door service to everyone and do it in a timely manner. It is more efficient to pick up several students in one stop, usually at a corner or other mid-way point for the students.
Some of our streets do not have sidewalks on both sides and are poorly lit. How can I get the stop moved closer to our home?
With our VersaTrans routing software and our knowledge of the areas we service, we try very hard to place our bus stops at the safest location possible. However, it is very important to remember that it is the parent's responsibility to get their child safely to and from the bus stop.
The pick-up time on the website says one time, but the driver needed to change it to an earlier time. Why?
Our routing system, VersaTrans, calculates the mileage of the route, the number of stops along the route, and the speed limits of the roads to determine the "approximate" pick-up and drop-off times. What the routing program cannot do is calculate the traffic conditions, weather, and road conditions along the route. Therefore, it becomes necessary for the driver to make adjustments. When the adjustments are needed, the driver must contact our office and the students in advance to let them know of the change. Our office will contact the school and send a letter home with each student explaining the new pick-up time. The afternoon drop-off can vary some depending on who is riding, traffic conditions, and weather. If you feel the bus is running later than usual, 15 minutes or more, please call our office at 787-1258.
The bus was late dropping off my child by 15 minutes or more. Why didn't I get a phone call informing me of the late bus?
Each bus carries 50-70 students every day to and from school. It would take a great amount of time to call each house informing them of a bus running 15 minutes late, but please do not hesitate to call our office if you have a concern (787-1258).
Why does my child have to sit in an assigned seat?
There are several reasons for this, the first would be safety. An assigned seat on the bus helps the driver know who is on the bus. It also eliminates the child trying to find a seat at the stop, thus allowing other students the ability to deny a seat to your child. Assigned seats also help with determining acts of vandalism on the bus.
Things are happening on the bus that the driver doesn't do anything about. Why?
The driver's first and foremost responsibility is to drive the bus. They cannot see everything that is happening on that bus at all times. If something is happening on the bus that concerns you and your child, please contact our office (787-1258) so we can assist. Most often the driver is not aware there is a problem. However, each driver is happy to assist and make every child's bus ride a safe and enjoyable experience.
My child is being threatened by another student on the bus. What should I do?
All school bus discipline problems should be immediately reported to the bus driver. Students who continue to cause problems can be removed from the bus for a period of one (1) to ten (10) days, or permanently, depending on the nature of the disciplinary problems.
What qualifications must bus drivers have to drive a school bus for Beech Grove City Schools?
In order to qualify to drive a school bus for Beech Grove City Schools, a person must be at least 21 years old, possess a valid Indiana Class B Commercial Driver License (CDL) with Passenger (P), School Bus Driver (S), and air brake endorsements; and they must maintain a safe driving record. In addition, prospective drivers must pass the State Department of Educations approved physical examination from an approved physician.
Drivers must also complete a comprehensive School Bus Driver Training Program provided by the State of Indiana and the Beech Grove Transportation Department. Each year, drivers are evaluated on their driving skills and attend regular safety and training meetings.
Bus driver candidates also undergo a thorough criminal background check through the Police Department, Indiana Bureau of Investigation, and Federal Bureau of Investigation. This investigation will check for any criminal history.
How many people can ride a bus?
There is no absolute number. Under Indiana law, the maximum number of students that can be transported in a school bus corresponds to the seating capacity designated by the manufacturer of the bus. Thus, a 72-passenger bus can carry 72 students, regardless of their age or size. Federal regulations govern how manufacturers determine seating capacity, using a 15-inch block for each designated seating position and rounding up to the nearest whole number. Most school bus seats are 39 inches wide; dividing 39 by 15 produces 2.6, which rounds up to three (3) seating positions per seat.
Clearly, that seating formula is not appropriate for all students. While state law does not limit the number of students per seat, it does require that aisles and exits be free of obstruction. This means that students cannot be hanging off the seats into the aisles, and their belongings cannot block the emergency exits. A further consideration is that the passive restraint system called compartmentalization works only for students who are completely contained within the seating system; a student who is partially off the seat is not fully protected. Therefore, the number of students that can safely sit on a school bus seat is the number that fits entirely on the seat.
What are bus drivers allowed to know about student records?
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) imposes significant obligations on local school units in regard to how they treat student education records. The State of Indiana has fully incorporated the requirements of FERPA into its own laws dealing with student records. These laws limit, in a comprehensive manner, the person who may access student records without parental consent; specifically, school officials who have a legitimate educational interest in a specific student may have access to student records without the parent's permission.
Under these laws, a school bus driver is defined as a school official, and if that driver operates the school bus in which that specific student rides, it is recognized that the bus driver has a legitimate educational interest in those parts of a student's record relating to transportation. The "legitimate educational interest" is applicable whenever a school official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his/her professional responsibility, for example, a school bus driver needs to be informed if a student on the bus is likely to have a seizure or is allergic to bee stings. Likewise, if a student has a cognitive disability, such as autism or ADD, and the disability is likely to manifest itself on the school bus ride, the driver needs to be familiar with appropriate responses to this behavior in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities to all the students on the bus.
We hope that this helps answer your questions. As always, if any other questions or concerns arise, please contact us at 787-1258.
Have a great school year!