FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How much does the school district actually spend on transporting students?
Our regular and special education transportation costs for last fiscal year 2011-2012 was just over $1.9 Million dollars.
Why can’t parents pay for busing so we have more buses available?
Under Massachusetts General Laws, regional school districts such as Whitman- Hanson cannot charge because we are regionalized and get a percentage reimbursement from the state.
I have seen new school buses driving around town, how can the district afford that?
The Whitman-Hanson Regional School District does not own any school bus vehicles or vans. We contract out our student bus transportation to the First Student Bus Company, they own the vehicles and they also are responsible for all drivers.
Does the state mandate that you bus all students?
No, the state mandates that we bus students who live more than 2 miles from school. We are not required to bus any other students. The district is reimbursed a percent amount from the state for students that are living 1.5 miles from school and use school bus transportation.
How much is the district reimbursed?
Reimbursement from the state has been in a continual decline since it began. For FY 2011 our state reimbursement percentage was 57.59%. The state originally told that the District that we would be reimbursed 100%, however that has not happened. In 2008, the percentage was 89.9% and has been decreasing each year.
Does either Whitman or Hanson reimburse for busing students?
Each year the district submits an article to each town’s annual town meeting for reimbursement of students living less than 1.5 miles who are using school bus transportation at a particular snapshot in time. Each town votes at their annual town meeting whether they will fund this line item. If the line items are not funded than the district would only transport students living 1.5 miles or greater from school by the most commonly traveled route.
What is the capacity for each bus?
We currently have buses that are both 71 and 84 student capacity.
No, however we do have a camera on each bus that records audio, video and also obtains GPS information.
Why is my students bus arriving at a different time than is stated on the parent portal?
Bus pick up and drop off times are approximations. There are many factors that can impact these times such as traffic, road conditions, weather, and student absences. We ask that parents /guardians be prepared at least 10 minutes before and after stated times.
Can my child ride home with a friend on another bus?
Unless it is an emergency situation, for safety reasons we do not allow this. Please visit our transportation guidelines at www.whrsd.org. Choose the transportation link under the parents listing from the main page.
Can I just tell the bus driver if I am changing my child’s bus stop?
No, all bus change requests must go through our Transportation Department. Bus drivers are not allowed to make any unauthorized changes and/or stops as per our contract with First Student.
How can I find out my students bus number and pick up/ drop off times?
All student transportation information as well as all other student information can be found on our parent portal. A link to the portal can be found on our main webpage under the parents listing at www.whrsd.org. If you do not have a portal account, please visit the website to download an application form.
I have moved, how can I make sure my child gets on the right bus?
All residence changes must be submitted to our district registrar before any bus changes will be honored. You can reach the registrar by calling 781-618-8123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What accommodations made for walkers in inclement weather?
In the event of inclement weather it is the parent/guardian’s responsibility to decide whether it is appropriate to send his/her child to school. On inclement weather days the district will announce if there will be snow shuttle routes. Shuttle routes will be posted on website at www.whrsd.org. Choose the transportation link under the parents listing from the main page.
Due to safety and route timing, kindergarten students (along with any siblings) will be brought to the next school on the route or if they are from the last school on the route, they will be brought back to their school. Safety is our utmost concern, drivers take notice of any unusual circumstances, (i.e. a parent who is normally there every day is suddenly not home)
How can I contact the Transportation Department?
Anyone experiencing problems or concerns with transportation should call the Transportation Department directly at 781-618-8100. For bus change requests, please visit our website at www.whrsd.org and select the transportation link from the parents listing on the main page.