My husband/wife and I are separated and share custody and we need different transportation at different times or I work part-time/shift work and have different requirements. Can I have two different sets of arrangements?

Transportation may be considered in situations where parents have shared custody as court ordered. The Consortium cannot guarantee that the route configuration will remain the same which would allow both addresses to be serviced.

There are a set of rules for JK – Grade 6 and then more flexibility for Grades 7-12.

THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONS WOULD APPLY TO ALL GRADES:

  • The Consortium reserves the right to withdraw services if, in its sole discretion, the safety of the student is compromised unduly.
  • Parents/guardians and the student accept all responsibility for the management of the alternating schedule, boarding the correct bus, and disembarking at the correct stop location.
  • The custodial parents must choose a primary address and secondary address for service, and the addresses are subject to the following conditions:
    • Both addresses must be eligible for transportation (cross attendance areas will not be permitted as consistent with the policy)
    • Both addresses must be the place of residence of the custodial parents or their appointed caregivers.
    • There must be room on the bus(es) servicing the secondary address
    • No route deviations or extensions will be granted.
  • Where the parents cannot agree on the primary and/or secondary addresses or the schedule, the parent with the greater share custody (as per court documents) will make the determinations.
  • If the situation involves a 50/50 joint custody situation, and the parents cannot agree on either of the primary and/or secondary addresses or the schedule, transportation will not be provided by the Consortium.
  • The drop off location can be based on either the primary or secondary address, but must be at the same location every day of the school year.
  • The pick-up location can be based on either the primary or secondary address, (as long as there is room on the buses). Parents/guardians are responsible for managing safety and communication and must ensure school administration has an accurate and up to date schedule.
  • On a daily basis, the student can utilize the pick-up location based on either the primary or secondary address providing there is room to assign a student to two buses.
  • On a daily basis, the student can utilize the drop off location based on either the primary or secondary address providing there is room to assign a student to two buses.
  • The student is not required to inform the Consortium of his or her daily schedule regarding pick-up and drop off locations and the Consortium or bus operator/driver does not assume any responsibility in managing or tracking the student’s daily schedule.
  • For special education students or exceptional circumstances where a visible parent is required to accompany and meet the student at the bus stop and/or if the student travels with an Education Assistant, the policy for JK-Gr.6 will apply due to the specialized transportation plan involved.

Can I place my child on a different bus because he/she is not getting along with another student. I know another bus is in the area and there is room.

The Consortium does not make changes to busing on this basis. If a problem arises the Consortium and/or the Principal of the school will attempt to assist you with this.

Can I request that the bus driver change my stop time, bus stop or part of the route?

Drivers do not have the authority to make any changes to the route including times, configuration or stops. Drivers are employees of the bus operators and not the Consortium. Bus Operators are under contract with the Consortium and as such both the bus operator and driver must comply with the Consortium’s policy and terms of the contract. A driver cannot and will not authorize requests and could be subject to disciplinary action should this occur. Please do not put your driver in this situation. All requests should be made through the Consortium Office. You should give 48 hours notice for a change to be made.

Does the Consortium have a maximum riding time policy?

It is the Consortium’s practice where possible, that the length of time for a student to ride on a bus will not normally exceed sixty (60) minutes one way. In some cases due to geography, routes may exceed 60 minutes.

How are bus stops and extensions assessed?

Stops

All bus stops have been determined on the basis of safety of the stop for students boarding/disembarking as well as for those already on the bus. The responsibility of getting the student to/from the stop safely is that of the parent.

Extensions

Route extensions may be considered if the following conditions are met:

  1. the route extension is over 1.0 km based on the address of the student making the request
  2. the change, modification or extension shall not adversely affect the route
  3. the roads conditions are adequate
  4. an adequate turnaround is available and properly maintained and is within a reasonable distance from the stop
  5. the extension distance is not excessive
  6. the financial impact is deemed reasonable

(The first condition that the Consortium reviews is the distance. If the distance to the residence is not over 1.0 km., then the other conditions are not considered.)

If I have a question, where can I get the answer?

You can contact the Consortium at 223-1256 Option 1, toll free 1-866-860-7770 Option 1 or email [email protected]. We will be happy to answer any questions or concerns.

If I need a temporary arrangement as I have been called out of town, will the Consortium provide transportation?

A temporary change is defined as a change which is a one-time request or on an infrequent or non-recurring change throughout the school year. The procedure is meant to accommodate unusual circumstances.

1.1 The transportation system is designed for eligible students. Students who are not normally eligible for transportation will not be accommodated unless the criteria for temporary changes have been met. Parents are responsible for transportation arrangements regarding birthday parties, visiting school friends or other personal commitments.

If my child is having trouble with other students on the bus, who should I contact?

The school bus is considered an extension of the classroom where students are responsible and accountable for their actions. Any concerns should be discussed with your child’s school principal.

My child goes to a sitter for 2 days and to my home the other three days a week. Can this be accommodated?

The Consortium has a policy in place for reasons of safety and efficiency therefore students are only permitted to have one pick-up and one drop-off point. These points may be different providing it is a daily occurrence and there is room on the bus.

My child is in the school band. Can he/she take the musical instrument on the bus?

All musical instruments must be transported in instrument cases and must remain in the case while on the bus. If the instrument is too large to fit under the seat than the instrument can not be taken on the bus.

My child is on the Hockey/Football Team. Can he/she take equipment on the bus?

We do not permit hockey/football bags on the bus. It is a safety issue for all students; if there was an emergency it could hinder the students from exiting the bus and the law requires us to keep the exits free and clear. As well, in the event that the bus must stop suddenly, these types of items can become a danger to students within the bus.

Should my child be hurt or injured and cannot easily get to school will the Consortium provide transportation?

Students will not be provided with special transportation due to a temporary physical challenge for example a broken leg. If a condition is prolonged, the condition must be supported in writing by a licensed medical doctor, the school must be aware of the condition and physical activity has also been limited at school. These will be reviewed on a case by case basis.

What happens if a storm comes up during the day?

The decision to dismiss the buses early is not one that is made lightly. The ramifications of such a decision can be chaotic if not coordinated safely. It is important that we do not send children home to an empty house. The school system requires a minimum of two hours to implement an early dismissal. Sometimes the day before, or even as students are being brought in on the morning run, your transportation staff are working with Environment Canada, the Ministry of Transportation, Bus Operators and Police Services to ensure we make the safest decision for your children. If you are in doubt and the weather conditions are deteriorating, it is your prerogative as a parent to go and get your child or make other arrangements to get your child home. You are in no way required to use the transportation service.

What if my child is attending a special academic program such as Fine Arts, Academic Excellence or the Ojibway Program. Is there bussing provided?

The Consortium may provide busing if the student is enrolled and attending a special academic program but there must be room on the bus and no additional costs incurred. Students may be bumped at any time to make room for other eligible students.

What is an “attendance boundary”?

Each School Board sets an attendance boundary for the school. Children who reside within the attendance boundary are entitled to attend that school. Parents may apply to the principal for approval to attend a school outside their attendance boundary but transportation will not be provided. Please contact us for more information on attendance boundaries.

What is the Visible Parent Program?

In the interest of safety, we have a Visible Parent Program for Junior/Senior Kindergarten bus students. JK/SK students riding the school bus are to be accompanied by an adult or a student 11 years of age and in grade 6 or older to their stop in the morning and met at their stop after school. This ensures students are not going home to an empty house and/or a child is not required to navigate to and from their stop unaccompanied.

The Consortium will provide all JK/SK bus students with a bag tag to wear on their backpack indicating they require a visible parent. Parents are asked to approach the bus door once the bus comes to a complete stop. Once the driver has paired the student with the appropriate parent/guardian, all other students may exit the bus.

Bus drivers have been instructed not to let JK/SK students on or off the bus unless there is a visible parent/alternate at the stop.  Should this occur, the student will be taken back to their school. Parents/Guardians should also be aware that if there isn’t someone to meet a child more than once, a bus suspension may result.  Parents/guardians are responsible for the safety and conduct of their child prior to boarding and after drop off.

 

What items are not permitted on the bus?

  • Alcohol
  • Ammunition
  • Animals (unless pre-approved service animals)
  • Explosives
  • Firearms
  • Fireworks
  • Football equipment/bags
  • Hockey equipment/bags (skates may be permitted if they have guards and are encased in a leather/canvas case and the skates must be tied together.)
  • Large musical instruments (tuba, drum, trombone etc.)
  • Oversized sports equipment
  • Skateboards
  • Skis/Ski poles
  • Sliding equipment
  • Water guns
  • Weapons

** Any object or material that the Driver, Operator, School or Consortium deems unsafe or dangerous.

Who determines school bus service eligibility?

It is the policy of the Northwestern Ontario Students Services Consortium, comprised of the Kenora Catholic District School Board, Northwest Catholic District School Board, Conseil Scolaire de District Catholique des Aurores boreales and the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board to provide harmonized student transportation services which are safe, efficient and effective. The Consortium determines eligibility.

Why can’t my child eat on the bus?

Children can not eat on the bus because of the potential for severe allergic reactions of other students and the danger of choking.

Will the Consortium provide transportation to the Co-operative Education work placement and Community Involvement Hours?

Transportation may be provided to a co-operative education and high school students attaining Community Involvement hours providing the distance criteria are met, there is room on the bus and there is no change to the bus route.