6A-3.0171. Responsibilities of School Districts for Student Transportation  


Effective on Wednesday, March 22, 2017
  • 1Each school district shall exercise specific powers and responsibilities, as follows:

    12(1) Responsibilities of Superintendent. It shall be the duty of the superintendent, acting as executive officer for the school board to exercise functions and to perform duties listed below:

    41(a) To recommend to the school board such policies, rules and regulations, plans and procedures as the superintendent shall deem desirable or necessary for provisions of satisfactory transportation facilities and equipment in the district, and as executive officer of the board, to administer the transportation service and to make sure that all policies and actions approved by the board are properly executed.

    103(b) To recommend to the school board for employment such assistants as are, in his or her judgement, necessary to supervise transportation operation and maintenance and to provide essential records, maps and studies of the service.

    139(c) To recommend in writing to the school board for employment qualified bus operators, attendants and mechanics as may be necessary for efficient functioning of the service.

    166(d) To develop safety regulations and promote proper safety practices for all operators.

    179(e) To prepare and recommend to the school board plans for purchase of or contract for safe school buses to transport students to and from school or school activities.

    208(f) To organize or approve an inspection, maintenance and repair service for publicly owned or contracted buses designed to ensure that the condition of each bus is maintained to meet or exceed accepted school bus industry and state standards, and which will be adequate to provide for quick and economical repair of any bus, and to make sure that this service functions efficiently.

    271(g) To propose garages at which buses shall be inspected, when arrangements for this service have not been made to use school board employed mechanics, and to see that inspections are systematically made at least once each month at garages approved by the board.

    315(h) To make periodic, objective surveys of school bus and garage equipment, routes, safety practices, repair and operating costs, and when unsatisfactory conditions are discovered, to recommend corrective measures to the school board.

    348(2) The school district shall exercise additional specific powers and responsibilities, as follows:

    361(a) Enforcement of law and rules and formulation of policies.

    371(b) To make sure that State Board of Education rules are known, understood and observed by all who have responsibility for student transportation.

    394(c) To assure that all transportation rules and statements of policy are in harmony with rules of the State Board of Education, and are fully observed.

    420(d) To assure that no state funds for transportation are used for transportation of students to schools which cannot qualify for recognition by the Department under the provisions of State Board of Education rules.

    454(e) To adopt, after considering recommendations of the superintendent, a school board policy prohibiting the use of a cellular telephone by any school bus operator while actively driving the bus.

    484(f) To adopt after considering recommendations of the superintendent, a school board policy that prohibits unnecessary idling of school buses while they are in the vicinity of students.

    512(g) To adopt, after considering recommendations of the superintendent statements of policy in harmony with law and with rules of the State Board of Education necessary for maintaining the requirements of adequate transportation. Such policies shall include at least the following responsibilities of the director or supervisor of transportation, the school principal or other designated staff and the bus operator for uniform school bus operating procedures:

    5781. Responsibilities of the director or supervisor of transportation:

    587a. To counsel with school bus operators regarding safety and efficiency of service to schools and to make recommendations to them for improvement in service.

    612b. To confer with the superintendent or the superintendent’s designee regarding bus operators and to recommend such personnel for employment.

    632c. To instruct school bus operators in procedures to be followed in conducting school bus emergency evacuation drills and to confer with each school principal regarding scheduling, conducting and documenting school bus evacuation drills. 666These procedures shall include a requirement that all operators of school buses transporting students, teachers, or chaperones on field and activity trips instruct all passengers in the locations and proper use of school bus emergency exits prior to each such trip.

    707d. To counsel with bus operators regarding operator responsibility and authority.

    7182. Responsibilities of the school principal or other designated school staff:

    729a. To assume responsibility under the direction of the superintendent for all student disciplinary cases which arise in connection with transportation.

    750b. To plan the program of the school so that transported students who arrive early or remain late will be under school supervision at all times.

    776c. To plan and assign places for students to get on and off school buses at the school, and to ensure the safety of the loading/unloading zone and to provide supervision of students.

    809d. To direct school bus emergency evacuation drills on each bus serving the school during the first six (6) weeks of each semester, and to maintain documentation for all students.

    839e. To provide instruction for all transported students in safe practices on and off the bus during the first six (6) weeks of the first semester of the school year.

    869f. To request authority in writing for transportation of students on field trips and activity trips, or other special trips, and to plan such trips in accordance with policies approved by the school board.

    9033. Responsibilities of the school bus operator:

    910a. To pass all required physical examinations and meet such requirements as may be prescribed by law or rules.

    929b. To be clean and neat in appearance, and to refrain from wearing shoes which are not securely held on the foot.

    951c. To refrain from use of tobacco while operating the bus, and to use no profane language in the presence of the students. Operators shall not use or be under the influence of alcohol, illicit drugs, or any substance which may impair the operator’s alertness or performance while on duty.

    1001d. To prescribe, in cooperation with the principals, the seating arrangements of students on all buses.

    1017e. To report needed changes in school bus transportation to the director or supervisor of transportation including bus loads, bus deficiencies, road hazards, routes and schedules.

    1043f. To study and observe all laws and rules of the State Board of Education and the school board relating to the service of transportation.

    1068g. To attend and participate in conferences and training classes for school bus operators and to be prepared at any time to pass successfully a reasonable examination concerning traffic laws, state and local transportation rules and driving skills.

    1106h. To ascertain and ensure that transported students observe all rules prescribed by law and by the state and local board.

    1127i. To maintain order and discipline, under the direction of the school principal, on the part of every passenger.

    1146j. To permit a student to leave the bus only at their assigned stop, except upon written authorization of the school principal or other district designee.

    1172k. To observe all procedures incorporated in the Florida Department of Education Basic School Bus Operator’s Curriculum, as incorporated by reference in paragraph 11956A-3.0141(4)(b), 1196F.A.C.

    1197l. To instruct transported students in safe riding practices.

    1206m. To require all passengers to remain seated and to keep aisles and exits clear.

    1221n. To participate in emergency evacuation drills at least once each school semester under the direction of the school principal or the principal’s designee.

    1245o. To use the bus, if it is publicly owned, only to transport students to and from school, except upon specific direction of the superintendent or from the principal upon written authorization by the superintendent.

    1280p. To prepare immediately after every accident involving the bus or a school bus passenger an accident report to be filed with the director or supervisor of transportation.

    1308q. To ascertain and ensure that all persons are off the bus before filling fuel tank.

    1324r. To cooperate with duly authorized school officials, mechanics and other personnel in the mechanical maintenance and repair of bus in overcoming hazards which threaten the safety or efficiency of service.

    1355s. To inspect the bus at least daily prior to the beginning of the first daily trip or more often as required by the school district and to report any defect affecting safety or economy of operation immediately to authorized service personnel. The inspection shall include all items identified in the procedures related to the mandatory daily inspection in the Basic School Bus Operator Curriculum.

    1420t. To keep the bus clean and neat at all times and not affix any stickers or other unauthorized items to the interior or exterior of buses.

    1447u. To prepare reports, keep all records required, and otherwise assist school officials in mapping bus routes, planning schedules and in obtaining information for a continuous study of all phases of transportation service.

    1480v. To wear a seat belt at all times when the bus is in operation.

    1495w. To use roof-mounted white flashing strobe lights (if equipped) at a minimum, whenever headlights are required to be used due to reduced visibility conditions pursuant to Section 1523316.217(1)(b), F.S., 1525except that insufficient light due only to the time of day or night shall not require use of the strobe light.

    1546x. To report immediately to the director or supervisor of transportation, school principal or other designated officials:

    1563(I) Misconduct on the part of any student while on the bus or under the operator’s immediate supervision;

    1581(II) Complaints requiring attention of school authorities;

    1588(III) Any hazards arising which would offer either an actual or a potential threat to the safety of students in the operator’s care;

    1611(IV) Causes for failure to maintain school bus time schedule; and,

    1622(V) Overloaded conditions on the bus which exceed the rated capacity of the bus.

    1636y. To perform a complete interior inspection of each bus after each run and trip to ensure no students are left on board.

    1659z. To maintain as far as practicable by patient and considerate treatment of parents a feeling of security in the safety of students transported.

    1683(3) Transportation personnel.

    1686(a) To employ such assistants as may be recommended by the superintendent and as are necessary in the judgment of the board to supervise operation and maintenance of school buses and to provide records and maps for a continuous study of transportation routes and needs within the district.

    1734(b) To employ or contract only for services of school bus operators who meet the requirements of Rule 17526A-3.0141, 1753F.A.C.

    1754(4) Transported students.

    1757(a) To consider, and as nearly as possible to provide for, the transit, safety, and comfort of each student who will be transported to and from school.

    1784(b) To approve, after considering recommendations of the superintendent, policies relating to and governing the conduct of transported students during the time they are riding on the school bus, and during the time spent on the school grounds awaiting the opening of school or in the afternoon hours waiting for the school bus.

    1837(c) To suspend for a period exceeding ten (10) days, upon recommendation of the superintendent, any student who willfully and persistently violates school board policies.

    1862(5) Purchases, lease and use of school buses.

    1870(a) To provide, by purchase or contract, safe, comfortable and adequate transportation facilities and school buses which meet minimum standards of law and State Board of Education rules.

    1898(b) To purchase transportation equipment in accordance with all provisions of law and State Board of Education rules.

    1916(c) To assure that contracts entered into by school boards for operation of school buses are in accordance with law and rules of the State Board of Education.

    1944(d) To adopt policies governing the use of publicly owned and contracted school buses for transportation of students to school and school activities, and to ascertain and ensure that buses and bus bodies are used only after policies have been adopted and upon written instructions signed by the superintendent or designee. Such district policies shall include the provision that any equipment carried in a school bus which could shift on impact or sudden stop shall be securely fastened and shall not block any aisle or exit at any time.

    2033(6) Routes and schedules.

    2037(a) To designate school bus routes, following consideration of data and recommendations presented by the superintendent, to provide for students eligible for transportation when transportation by school bus is economical and practicable.

    2069(b) To propose minimum distances from school centers within which no bus stops will be scheduled except for students with special transportation needs; to propose minimum distances from transportation routes as residence zones within which students must arrange to meet the bus at regularly scheduled stops; and to plan and arrange routes, schedules, and student capacities in accordance with policies adopted by the school board.

    2134(c) To plan routes, so far as practicable, so that no elementary student shall be on a bus more than fifty (50) minutes or secondary school student more than one (1) hour during the morning or evening, and so that no more than an hour and one-half will elapse between the time the student boards the bus and the time school begins, or the time school closes and the student leaves the bus in the afternoon, and to arrange proposed routes which, insofar as possible, are free from major hazards.

    2224(d) To assure that county and city officials are advised of hazards on bus routes and hazards involving students walking to and from school.

    2248(7) School bus operating principles. To assure that all buses are operated in accordance with municipal, county and state traffic requirements and that every precaution is taken to assure the safety of students.

    2281(8) Inspection and maintenance of school buses.

    2288(a) To provide, after considering recommendations of the superintendent, adequate storage, maintenance and inspection procedures for all buses owned by the school board, and to assure that all contract buses in use in the district are properly inspected and maintained in accordance with law and rules of the State Board of Education.

    2340(b) The inspection shall be conducted in accordance with procedures and include all items listed in the State of Florida School Bus Safety Inspection Manual, 2017 Edition (2368http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-079342370) and documented on the Florida School Bus Safety Inspection Form (2017-IF) (2383http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-079352385), effective March 2017. The manual and form 2017-IF are hereby incorporated by reference and made a part of this rule. These documents may be obtained from the 2413Department’s website at: http://fldoe.org/core/fileparse.php/7585/urlt/0085485-floridaschoolbussafetyinspectionmanual-1.pdf and may also be 2421obtained 2422fr2423om the School Transportation Management Section, 2429Department of Education, 325 West Gaines Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32399, at a cost not to exceed actual production and distribution cost.

    2450(c) Inspection of buses shall be scheduled and performed at a maximum interval of thirty (30) school days. Any bus that is removed from service or deadlined so as to disrupt the safety inspection schedule shall be inspected prior to being returned to service. All deficiencies discovered during the safety inspection shall be noted on the inspection form (2017-IF). Follow-up repairs of all safety related items shall be made before the bus is returned to service and shall be documented.

    2530(d) School bus inspections shall be conducted by technicians certified as school bus safety inspectors in accordance with the State of Florida School Bus Safety Inspection Manual, 2017 Edition. 2559The State of Florida School Bus Safety Inspector Application (Form 2017-SI) (2571http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-079362573), effective March 2017, and the District Online Test Administrator Application (Form 2017-TA) (2587http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-079372589), effective March 2017, are hereby incorporated by reference and made part of this rule. These documents may be obtained from the Department’s website at: http://fldoe.org/core/fileparse.php/7585/urlt/0085485-floridaschoolbussafetyinspectionmanual-1.pdf and may also be obtained from the School Transportation Management Section, Department of Education, 325 West Gaines Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32399, at a cost not to exceed actual production and distribution cost. 2647The requirement that inspections be performed by a certified Florida School Bus Safety Inspector may be waived for a period not to exceed six (6) months when an emergency condition exists, upon written notification to the Commissioner of Education by the district superintendent.

    2690(e) No person shall knowingly render inoperative or reduce compliance of any school bus equipment required to meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards applicable at the time of manufacture.

    2719(9) Transportation records, reports and accounting.

    2725(a) To ascertain and ensure that all prescribed records are kept and reports made which are required by law or rules.

    2746(b) To assure that all records and reports are properly completed and are furnished on the dates due to those designated to receive them.

    2770(c) Keep a current file of all Medical Examiner Certificates and required dexterity tests for school bus operators.

    2788(d) To maintain records of inspection of each school bus in accordance with requirements of subsection (8) of this rule.

    2808(e) To prepare maps of routes and attendance zones and conduct and carry on such studies of transportation as shall enable the superintendent to measure progress and recommend improvements in the transportation service.

    2841(f) To prescribe and maintain, upon recommendation of the superintendent, such additional records, reports, accounts and accounting procedures as may be necessary to provide complete information regarding the transportation service.

    2871(g) To report bus inventories using the Department’s Online Bus Inventory Application (Form 420), which may be accessed at http://ap2891p28924.fldoe.org/BusOnlineInventory/Login.aspx. The Department’s Online Bus Inventory Application, Form 420 (2902http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-079382904) is hereby incorporated by reference, effective March 2017. For viewing purposes only, hard copies of the reporting requirements in the Online Bus Inventory Application may be obtained by contacting the Director of the School Transportation Management Section, Department of Education, 325 West Gaines Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32399.

    2952(10) Inter-agency relationships. To cooperate with municipal, county, state, and federal agencies to promote the safety of the transportation service through correction of remediable road hazards.

    2978Rulemaking Authority 2980316.615, 29811001.02(1), 29821003.31, 29831006.21, 29841006.22, 29851012.45 FS. 2987Law Implemented 2989316.615, 29901003.31, 29911006.22, 29921012.45 FS. 2994History–New 9-4-64, Amended 3-25-66, 1-17-72, 7-20-74, Repromulgated 12-5-74, Amended 11-24-76, 10-1-81, Formerly 6A-3.17, Amended 9-30-87, 6-26-89, 11-15-94, 8-28-95, 4-18-96, Formerly 6-3.017, Amended 6-11-00, Formerly 6-3.017, Amended 4-21-03, 11-26-08, 3-23-16, 3-22-17.

     

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