Improving Transportation Services for All Students
It is vital that every student in Ohio attend school every day. Research has demonstrated that missing too much school has long-term, adverse effects on students, such as lower achievement and graduation rates. Ohio's data
shows chronic absenteeism is increasing, and the gap created by the learning loss
experienced during the pandemic has not yet been closed. When students are not at school, they cannot benefit from the instructional resources and supports schools and districts provide. School buses play a critical role in the education system by ensuring Ohio's students can access learning through their chartered nonpublic schools, community schools or districts of residence. The Department is dedicated to upholding all aspects of Ohio law and the transportation guarantees it provides to students and families.
School districts are responsible for transporting all eligible students to the district, community or chartered nonpublic schools where they are enrolled. At a minimum, state law requires students in grades K-8 who reside more than two miles from their school receive transportation. Transportation beyond the state minimum is not required, however, if a district opts to provide additional service levels such as transportation of students in grades 9-12 or those living less than two miles away, then the level of service applies to all students regardless of school of enrollment. Districts may use different modes of transportation, but the mode of transportation is not based on school attended.
Districts should inquire whether parents or guardians of students require accommodations or translation services to facilitate communication. Districts should provide communications to parents and guardians in their native language or with any necessary accommodations.
State law and administrative rules apply to districts, community schools, and contractors who transport students. School transportation laws are in Chapter 3327 of the Ohio Revised Code
. Statutory requirements include:
- Eligibility: All students residing 30 minutes or less of direct travel time as measured by school bus from their assigned district school building to the school where they are enrolled are eligible for district-provided transportation.
- When Transportation Must Be Available: School districts must transport eligible community and chartered nonpublic students when their community or chartered nonpublic schools are in operation, regardless of whether the district schools are open, except on Saturday and Sunday.
- Start and End Times: Districts cannot require chartered nonpublic and community schools to change start and end times or their school calendars. However, compromise and collaboration are recommended where possible.
- Arrival and Departure: Transported students in preschool-grade 12 should arrive at their respective schools no sooner than 30 minutes before the beginning of school and be available to be picked up no later than 30 minutes after the close of their school day.
- Public Transit: Districts can use public transit for students in grades 9-12 if no more than one transfer is required. Districts may use public transit for students in grades K-8 only after entering into an agreement with the community or chartered nonpublic schools enrolling the affected students.
- Stops and Schedules: Bus stops and time schedules annually must be adopted by district boards of education not earlier than 30 days prior to and not later than 10 days after the beginning of the school year.
- Transportation Plans: Chartered nonpublic and community schools that provide their schools' start and end times by April 1 prior to the school year must receive a transportation plan from the district responsible for transportation no later than 60 days from the date of the notice. Chartered nonpublic and community schools that provide notice of their schools' start and end times after April 1 but before July 1 shall be provided a transportation plan no later than Aug. 1.
Impracticality Determinations: State law allows districts to determine that transportation for a student eligible for transportation is impractical only after considering six factors. Determination of impracticality is made at the individual student level. Factors used to determine impracticality do not include the type of school (district, chartered nonpublic or community) attended by a student.
Resolutions of impracticality must be made not later than 30 calendar days prior to the district's or school's first day of instruction. In the case of a student who enrolls within 30 calendar days prior to the first day of instruction or on or after the first day of instruction, determinations of impracticality must be made within 14 calendar days after the student's enrollment. All determinations must include the student's name and the reason(s) for impracticality.
- Payment in Lieu: Districts must offer payment in lieu to parents of students for whom a determination of impracticality is made. Parents may decline payment in lieu and request mediation. Students must be transported until the issue is resolved.
- Schools Acting on Behalf of Parents: State law does allow chartered nonpublic and community schools to act on behalf of the parents of enrolled students for mediation proceedings.
Disputes and Concerns
The Department strongly recommends that, where possible, districts, families, and community and chartered nonpublic schools work together to resolve problems. If efforts to resolve an issue have been unsuccessful, concerns can be submitted to the Department by completing the Transportation Concern Form
and sending additional documentation by email to TransportationCompliance@education.ohio.gov
Concerns may be submitted by completing the Transportation Concern Form
online. Please be sure to include all relevant information and answer the questions with as much detail as possible, such as dates, times, school bus route and school bus numbers. The Department will notify districts of concerns received and request a response within 5 days.
Please be aware this document is not a comprehensive list of all pupil transportation requirements. Department staff are available to provide more information or facilitate communication between parties. For assistance, please contact SchoolBus@education.ohio.gov
or call 614-466-4230.
Last Modified: 11/29/2023 5:34:49 PM