- Can I reach someone in the Transportation Department before 6:00 a.m.?
Yes, our Dispatch Offices opens at 5:45 a.m. Calls can be taken at 302-322-0251.
- Who rides our buses?
We provide transportation for over 16,000 students attending 28 schools in the Red Clay Consolidated School District; 176 buses make multiple trips to cover approximately 800 bus routes.
- Who is eligible for transportation?
- Elementary school students who live one mile or more from the elementary school in their feeder pattern.
- Secondary school (middle and high school) students who live two miles or more from the secondary school in their feeder pattern.
- Intensive Learning Centers, Positive Learning Center, and Meadowood Programs - Transportation for students assigned to these programs will be provided in accordance with public law.
- Who drives our buses?
School bus drivers must complete 18 hours of State training. They must also complete training and testing for a commercial driver's license (CDL). In addition, each driver must obtain a criminal background check and an annual physical. All drivers are subject to random drug and alcohol testing.
- How can I become a school bus driver?
We are always looking for good drivers to train to become school bus drivers. We have classes beginning every other week. Applications are available at our Transportation office:
Red Clay Consolidated School District
479 Old Airport Road
New Castle, Delaware 19720
Bus Routes & Schedules
- Why is my child's bus late?
Weather, traffic, driver absenteeism, maintenance difficulties, and unforeseen incidents are responsible for delays in the arrival of school buses in the morning and afternoon.
- Sometimes the bus routes must be doubled out or run as a second load to or from the school due to the regular driver being absent.
- Traffic in New Castle County is increasing.
- Drivers check buses before their routes and sometimes find mechanical problems that can cause delays and require driving another bus for that day. This can cause the bus to be late.
- Please know that we are doing everything humanly possible to have all buses running on schedule everyday. In the event that your bus does not arrive as scheduled, please allow ten to fifteen minutes before calling the transportation office or the school.
- Why can't you call when you know the bus will be late?
It is simply a numbers problem. There could be as many as 50-70 students on each bus. That is at least 50-70 phone calls in a short time frame to parents who are quite possibly at the bus stop with their children. It is just not feasible. Please know that there is a bus on the way and that we will do everything humanly possible to transport your child to and from school in a timely manner every day. If your scheduled bus is more than ten minutes late, please allow for the time that is required for the route to be driven as a second load.
- Why can't we provide transportation to different pick-up or delivery locations on different buses on different days?
According to State law, each student eligible for transportation is permitted one seat on a bus. Providing transportation to and from different locations on different days would require the assignment of multiple seats for those students.
- Why can't my child get off wherever they want in the afternoon?
Student code of conduct states - STUDENTS MUST RIDE THEIR ASSIGNED BUS TO AND FROM THEIR ASSIGNED STOP. SWITCHING BUSES FOR ANY REASON IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED.
- How do we provide transportation for children requiring care before and after school at day care facilities?
We provide transportation for students whose day care is officially licensed by the State of Delaware and is in the same feeder pattern as the school they are attending. We pick up and deliver students to the closest possible stop to their day care. Transportation does not endorse or recommend any specific day care center.
- How are bus stops determined?
State regulation requires that we provide safe, efficient bus routes to all eligible students in our district. We work very hard to keep bus routes less than an hour in order to do so we have to maintain routes that reduce time and mileage wherever possible. Some routes are over one hour, unfortunately with the distance we have to travel for some programs and the equipment limitations we have we have to be creative in our approach to bus routes. Just a few of the things we consider in determining where to designate a stop are:
- Can the bus and its warning lights be seen by other motorists at a distance of 500 feet on open roadways or 200 feet on urban streets (four seconds at typical optimal speeds)?
- Are the students and other motorists visible to the bus driver when approaching the stop?
- How do light conditions affect the visibility approaching the student stop? (sun rising and setting, background lighting – Christmas season, etc.)
- Hills and curves reduce the visibility for drivers approaching a stop or a stopped school bus. Whenever possible, we avoid designating a bus stop near a hillcrest or curve in the roadway.
- Do surrounding buildings or foliage affect what the driver can see when approaching the stop?
- Are there potential hazards from side streets or parking lots?
- Is there an area for students to safely wait for the bus?
- Is there potential shelter for students in the event of inclement weather?
How many students are at the stop? What are their ages?
- The bus drives right by my house; why can’t I have a house stop?
Bus stops are established at easily identified locations accessible to students throughout a geographic area. This assures student safety, bus safety, and service reliability. Every time a school bus stops to pick up and/or drop off students, rider time on the route is increased for the deceleration, stop sequence, loading, seating, safety checks, and acceleration back into traffic flow.
Stopping at every residence along a road can be unsafe as well as an unacceptably inefficient use of resources. If we stopped at every student residence that the bus might pass by, some students would be on the bus for unacceptable lengths of time. In addition, there would additional fuel consumption and pollution, and some other motorists would be so frequently delayed that they could begin to “take chances” to get past the bus. Problems have also been encountered with identifying the location for the stop, creating an unsafe ‘stop-and-go’ hesitancy while a new or substitute driver tries to find the address.
- Why can't you come further into my subdivision?
School buses come in various sizes ranging from 25 to 36 feel long, 20,000-26,000 pounds, 12-13 feet high and 6-9 feet wide. The length is what limits the school bus to be maneuvered in cul-de-sacs and tight places. Smaller buses can turn in a shorter radius, while longer buses cannot maneuver the same circle without backing the bus, which is avoided in routing if possible. Residents sometimes park trucks, boats, and trailers on the streets. Children leave their bicycles, skateboards, and basketball backboards in the street. Although our drivers are trained to be able to parallel park their buses, some subdivisions are not designed with school bus transportation in mind. Please know that we will design school bus routes to be safe and convenient to the majority of students within the limits of time and physics.
- Are bus stops reviewed periodically by transportation?
Yes, we have approximately 1500 stops located within the Red Clay Consolidated School District. Our transportation supervisor travels throughout the district regularly to assess environmental and traffic changes. Bus drivers report any concerns they may have relating to safe operations at bus stops. During a typical year we will review on our own initiative approximately a third of these stops. We will formally review another 50 per year due to concerns expressed about stop safety by residents.
- My street has no sidewalks. Why can’t the bus pick my child up in front of my house?
Many development streets were designed and built without sidewalks to maintain a rustic or non-urban image. When such streets were reviewed by the Delaware Department of Transportation, they were accepted as low [traffic] volume pedestrian-safe shared traffic facilities. Parents are expected to teach their children the safe and legal way to walk along the streets in their developments.
If the street is used as a “through” street or arterial, we will review traffic to determine if a bus must be assigned to pick students up along the street due to high traffic volumes causing an unsafe pedestrian situation. Most of those streets have already been identified by past traffic studies. If you believe that the traffic using your street has increased due to changes in travel patterns, please contact us and we will conduct a traffic study to assess school transportation needs.
Special Needs Transportation
- How can I receive transportation for my special needs child?
The student's IEP team determines transportation needs. Transportation is based solely on the needs of the student and in accordance with the law. The Educational Diagnostician or Building Administrator will complete and send a special needs transportation request to our office for processing.
- How long does it take to set up transportation for my special needs child?
Five to seven (5-7) business days are needed to obtain all emergency information, process routing information, contact drivers and communicate with parents and other professionals involved.
- What is the average time length of the ride for special needs students?
Our goal, for students within the Red Clay Consolidated School District, is no more than one hour.
- Why can't last minute changes be granted?
SAFETY is our main goal and concern. Changes may be granted for consistent schedules within the child's regular route.
- Who determines the number of students permitted on a bus and the distance a student must live from his feeder school to be eligible for transportation?
Bus loads as well as walking distances are determined by the State Board of Education.
- How many students are permitted on a bus?
Passenger Seating Guidelines
Bus Seating Capacity
- Why are there only 30 students riding some buses and my child's bus is crowded?
Decisions regarding each bus route are made by careful planning based on information from the school registration, previous similar routes, and Department of Transportation data. Most routes are fixed during the summer months and changes are made after the first two weeks of school, if not sooner. The more current the information we are given, the better decisions regarding specific routes can be made.
Distance from school, number of buses and drivers, and grouping of students and neighborhoods are factors considered also. Sometimes it is just not possible to have the exact number of students on every run.
State and national guidelines allow for up to 20% over capacity seating.
Student Behavior on School Buses
- Does the school district have a policy regarding behavior on the school bus?
Acceptable behavior on a school bus is addressed in the Student Code of Conduct. Student Conduct on School Buses: The bus is an extension of the school day. The Student Code of Conduct remains in effect any time a student is on the school bus (including the assigned bus to and from school, activity buses, sports buses, field trip buses, etc.).
- Student Conduct on School Buses:
The bus is an extension of the school day. The Student Code of Conduct remains in effect any time the student is on the school bus (including the assigned bus to and from school, activity buses, sports buses, field trip buses, etc.). Buses are provided for those students whose distance from school or health issues make this service essential. Children should be instructed in the following rules of behavior:
- Pupils must obey the driver promptly and be courteous to the driver and to fellow pupils. The driver is in full charge of the bus and pupils, and has the authority of a classroom teacher.
- Pupils must be on time; the bus has to run on schedule and cannot wait for those who are tardy.
- Pupils should never stand or play on the roadway while waiting for the bus.
- Before boarding the bus, pupils must keep a safe distance from it while it is in motion.
- Pupils must enter the bus without crowding or disturbing others and occupy their seats immediately.
- Pupils must not try to get on or off the bus when it is in motion. When on the bus, they must remain seated until the bus has come to a complete stop.
- Pupils must keep out of the driver's seat and remember that unnecessary conversation with the driver is prohibited while the bus is in motion.
- In approaching the bus or a bus stop along the highway, a pupil should walk on the left side of the road facing traffic. The pupil should be sure that the road is clear of all traffic or that all traffic has stopped before crossing. Upon leaving the bus, the pupil should immediately walk around the front of the bus and stop before crossing. The pupil should make sure that the road is either clear of all traffic or that all traffic has come to a complete stop before crossing.
- In crossing the street or highway at any time, pupils should look both to the right and to the left, then WALK -- not run.
- Outside ordinary conversation in normal tone, classroom conduct is to be observed when on the bus.
- Pupils must not call out to passersby. They should not open the bus windows without permission from the driver; and not extend their head or arms out of the windows.
- Pupils will not leave the bus without the driver's consent, except on arrival at their regular bus stop or at school.
- Pupils should help to keep the bus clean, sanitary, and orderly. They must not damage or abuse the equipment.
- Pupils are not permitted to smoke while on the bus.
- Pupils must not use profanity while on the bus.
- Pupils must not throw articles of any kind in, out, or around the bus.
- Pupils are not to eat or drink while on the bus.
- Other forms of misconduct that will not be tolerated are acts such as, but not limited to, indecent exposure, obscene gestures, and spitting.
- Pupils are to conduct themselves while on the bus in such a way that it will not distract the driver from the job of driving.
- Pupils may not bring large musical instruments, live animals, balloons, glass containers, skateboards, or large school projects onto the bus.
- Athletic equipment brought on the bus must fit between the pupil’s legs and not be placed on the seat or in the aisle. Care and safety when transporting sports equipment should be considered a priority. Pupils misusing the equipment or allowing another student to misuse the equipment while on the bus will lose the privilege to transport the equipment on the bus. Whenever possible, the athletic equipment should be in appropriate equipment bags to avoid sharp edges being exposed to pupils.
- Why did you suspend my child from riding the bus?
Behavioral expectations on the school bus are much like those in the classroom. Then, factor in the mobility of that "classroom" and traffic, added noise and the size of the "classroom" and you have a potential catastrophe if there are not clear expectations and enforcement. The behavioral expectations on the bus revolve around the individual rights of every person on the bus, including the driver and the collective rights of students and driver as it pertains to SAFETY. Anything that jeopardizes the safety of individuals on the bus is viewed as serious.
Most drivers have bus rules or expectations posted on the bus. When there is an infraction, a referral is turned into the school administrator, who is responsible for contacting the student and parent to solve the lack of compliance with bus expectations. The school administrator is solely responsible for consequences based on the incident as described by the driver and student. Most buses have video cameras, which are used to verify incidents. Our goal is never to deny any student transportation to and from school, but we must maintain safety for all students.
Denial of bus privileges is the temporary removal of the opportunity to ride the school bus. Such denials are for a period not to exceed five school days. The principal may, however, deny bus privileges for a period to exceed five (5) days for repeated misbehavior. Denials for longer than five (5) days must have the approval of the Superintendent or his designee.
- Prior to denial of bus privileges, the student shall:
A. Be given oral or written notice of the charges and be told who is making these charges or complaints.
B. Be given a fair and impartial hearing and have the opportunity to present the student's side of the story.
C. Have had prior opportunity to know that the misbehavior was in violation of established rules and regulations.
D. Be advised that denial of bus privileges may be appealed to the next higher authority.
- In all cases of denial of bus privileges, an attempt shall be made to notify the parents by telephone and with a written notification of the denial sent to the parents within 24 hours.
During the denial of bus privileges, it shall be the parents' responsibility to provide the students transportation to school. Should the student be absent, the responsibility for initiating the makeup work and turning in assignments rests with the student.
- Denial of bus privileges shall not be used as a disciplinary action for non bus related violations.
- Upon the third bus suspension within one school year, the student will be placed on a behavioral contract. Upon the fourth bus suspension within one school year, a principal must refer the case to the Superintendent or his designee for further action, including possible recommendation for extended denial of bus privileges.
- Why does my child have a seat assignment?
Bus drivers are required to assign seats to each child riding the bus by Delaware regulations. This is usually done in cooperation with the administrators of the school the bus serves.
Assigned seating helps the driver learn the names of their riders, prevents conflicts on the bus, assures that each student will be seated, and reduces confusion when the students are loading at the stop or at school. Drivers may change the designated seats at any time, even temporarily or during the middle of a ride, to correct or prevent disruptions on the bus. This is rider management, and is not a ‘punishment’ or disciplinary action. If your child wants to be assigned to a specific location on the bus or to sit with some other rider, they can ask the bus driver to change their assigned seat. The bus driver will determine whether or not therequest can be approved.
- How do we provide transportation for Choice students?
Students who live in the Red Clay Consolidated School district and have chosen to attend a school that is not in their feeder pattern will be picked up and delivered to the closest established stop on an existing bus route for the school they are attending. This location is designated by the Transportation Department.
Students who do not live in the Red Clay Consolidated School District will be picked up and delivered to the closest established stop for the school attended (inside the District). This location is designated by the Transportation Department.
- My child is a CHOICE student, but their stop is too far. Why can’t I have a closer stop?
Your signature on your CHOICE application indicated that it was your understanding that it will be your responsibility to transport your child to your school of CHOICE or to an EXISTING STOP on an EXISTING BUS ROUTE for that particular school.
UPDATE: AUGUST 31, 2015
Choice bus stops, not within the school’s attendance zone, will be discontinued effective:
All Elementary Schools: School Year 2016-2017
All Middle Schools: School Year 2017-2018
All High Schools: School Year 2018-2019
Transportation will be assigned within the Choice school’s attendance zone.
This does not apply to Conrad School of Science, Cab Calloway School of the Arts, or Dickinson Middle School Program, as there are no attendance zones for those schools.