FILE:  ED

Cf:  EDCA

 

STUDENT TRANSPORTATION MANAGEMENT

 

 

The Catahoula Parish School Board shall provide to eligible students school transportation services which shall meet the objectives of safety, efficiency, adequacy, and economy.  Through the use of publicly and privately owned buses, the School Board shall maintain a student transportation program that shall conform to or exceed minimum standards as set forth by pertinent statutes and the Louisiana Department of Education, as well as regulations established by the Supervisor of Transportation.  It shall be unlawful for the School Board to permit the transport at one time a number of children on a school bus that exceeds the number of seats available on that bus.

 

All vehicles, owned by either the school district or contract bus operators, shall carry evidence of insurance and be registered, marked, and equipped according to law.  Contract bus operators who purchase their own insurance shall be required to annually submit to the Supervisor of Transportation proof of proper and valid insurance coverage prior to any usage of the bus.  Should any coverage aspects or insurance policy provisions change during the year, the bus operator shall notify the Supervisor of Transportation immediately.

 

All buses and other vehicles used primarily for the transportation of students shall be inspected by the assigned driver and the Supervisor of Transportation on a regular basis.  All school vehicles shall be inspected a minimum of twice a year, once during June, July or August and certified as safe prior to the beginning of the school session, and once during December, January, or February of each school year, by an approved Louisiana Motor Vehicle Inspection Station.  Buses fifteen (15) years of age or older shall be inspected more frequently than other buses to assure effectiveness of operation and safety of students.

 

All school buses used to transport students shall at all times be driven by operators possessing a valid Commercial Driver's License (CDL) and having completed pre-service certification training.  All school bus operators, including contract bus operators, shall be required to personally operate the school bus assigned or owned, except in the case of illness or emergency.  In such cases, a substitute shall be assigned by the Supervisor of Transportation.

 

BUS PURCHASES

 

It is the policy of the Catahoula Parish School Board that any used school bus purchased for use in the parish shall meet current statutory requirements for motor vehicles and shall meet Louisiana specifications for school buses that were in effect on the date the vehicle was manufactured.  All bus purchases shall require prior approval of the School Board.

 

School buses used to transport students, including activity and backup buses, shall not be more than twenty-five (25) years old.  All replacement school buses, at the time they are acquired by the owner, shall be ten (10) or less model years old.  The number of years shall be reckoned from the date of introduction of the model year.  This shall apply to buses purchased by veteran owners/operators, by newly hired owners/operators and by the School Board, individual schools, booster clubs, etc., for the purposes of transporting children to and from school and school-related activities and for use as spare buses.

 

When a new bus is purchased or the ownership of a bus is transferred, the operator shall assure that the bus is in compliance with all requirements contained in applicable laws and school district regulations.  All buses so purchased shall be required to satisfactorily pass all mandated inspections prior to any usage.

 

ROLE OF THE SCHOOL BUS OPERATOR

 

The school bus operator assumes an important role in all phases of the transpor­tation program, but of special significance to his/her role in connection with the safety aspects of transportation.  The safest highways and the very best buses are important, but a complete safety program can be developed only in direct relation to the safety of the operator of the bus.

 

Since the lives of many children are in the care of the bus operator, their safety is the bus operator's major responsibility.  Toward this end, the bus operator is morally, as well as legally, responsible for discharging his/her duties in such a manner that every precaution can be taken to afford maximum protection to the children.  He/she is responsible to the School Board, the Superintendent, and the principal insofar as the safe and efficient handling of the bus is concerned.  The operator is responsible for familiarizing himself/herself with state and local traffic laws and ordinances governing motor vehicle operation and for participating in all meetings, conferences, and training courses which are required by law and which will improve pupil transportation in the Parish.  He/she is responsible for the proper care, repair and maintenance, and the inspection of the bus in addition to following safe operating practices.  It is of vital importance that he/she maintain the highest efficiency as far as health is concerned, if maximum safety is to be afforded to those who ride daily.  He/she must be punctual and reliable if good public relations are to be maintained between the school and the home.

 

VIDEO EQUIPMENT ON SCHOOL BUSES

 

As a means to help ensure safety and proper conduct on School Board owned and/or contracted school buses, it shall be the policy of the Catahoula Parish School Board that video surveillance equipment be allowed and/or required when such equipment is requested and approved by the Supervisor of Transportation, and operated under rules and regulations established by the Superintendent.

 

Purposes for which the video equipment may be used are:

 

  1. Monitoring behavior and conduct of students on the bus.

  2. Evaluating the conduct and performance of the operator of the bus.

  3. Providing evidence relative to adherence or non-adherence to policies of the School Board.

 

The purchase and installation of such equipment shall be the responsibility of the School Board.  Ownership of the equipment, including the housing thereof, shall remain with the School Board.  The School Board shall have the right and responsibility to remove such equipment, and repair any damage caused by installation of same, when a bus is retired or sold.

 

Strict adherence to laws and rules of confidentiality shall be maintained in the viewing of tapes and use of equipment to assure compliance with laws and regulations regarding the privacy rights of students and employees.

 

INSURANCE REQUIREMENTS FOR SCHOOL-RELATED TRIPS

 

All vehicles used to transport students on school related trips must have liability insurance in the amount of $100,000 bodily injury per person, $300,000 per occurrence, $50,000 property damage, $5,000 medical payments, and uninsured motorist coverage in the amount of $10,000 per person and $20,000 per occurrence.

 

Drivers of automobiles transporting students shall be twenty-one (21) years of age or older.

 

USE OF CELLULAR TELEPHONES

 

The School Board authorizes the issuance of cellular telephones to all bus operators.  The following rules shall apply to the use of cellular phones by bus operators:

 

  1. The cell phone is to be used for emergencies only.  

  2. The operator must not use the phone while the bus is moving.

  3. The operator must not use the phone to make personal calls.

  4. The operator must make every reasonable effort to secure the phone when the bus is not being used.

 

Revised:  October, 1997 Revised:  May, 2001
Revised:  August, 2000 Revised:  April, 2002
Revised:  September, 2000 Revised:  June 5, 2018

 

 

Ref:    La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§17:158, 17:158.1, 17:158.2, 17:158.3, 17:158.4, 17:158.5, 17:158.6, 17:158.7, 17:159, 17:159.1, 17:159.2, 17:160, 17:161, 17:162, 17:163, 17:164, 17:165, 17:166, 17:492, 32:293, 32:378

Olive Morgan v. Livingston Parish School Board, First Circuit Court of Appeals, March 1991

Louisiana School Transportation Specifications and Procedures, Bulletin 119, Louisiana Department of Education

Board minutes, 9-5-00, 12-5-00, 3-5-02, 6-5-18

 

Catahoula Parish School Board