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Each day over 2,500 students are transported to school by Johnson Bus Co. at the expense of the School District of Menomonee Falls. Providing that transportation costs taxpayers more than $1.5 million per year. Which students are eligible for transportation services through the District is often a source of confusion for many residents. Below are some of the most commonly asked questions regarding transportation services for students in the School District of Menomonee Falls.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Regarding the district's school transportation policies with Jeffrey J, Gross, Director of Business Service
  • Who is eligible for District provided transportation?

    Elementary school students (pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade) who live one mile from school and secondary school students (grade 6-12) who live two-miles or more from school are eligible for District transportation to and from school.

  • How was that determined?

    State law requires school boards to provide transportation to and from public schools to all resident students who live more than two-miles from the nearest public school they are entitled to attend. However, in 1962, the District electors voted to shorten the distance for elementary students (pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade) to one-mile. This distance can only be changed by a vote of the electors at the District's Annual Meeting in August, or at a special meeting called for that specific purpose.

  • I have been told that my children are not eligible for District transportation, but the children across the street ride the bus every day. How can my neighbor's children be eligible and not mine?

    The School Board's Finance & Auxiliary Services Committee has stressed the importance of adhering strictly to the State Statute to assure fairness District-wide to everyone in providing transportation services. It is possible that the short distance across a street, or even a few houses down a street can mean the difference between being within the one- or two-mile limit required and another just outside the limit. We understand that may seem like we are splitting hairs, but again, to ensure fairness and keep transportation costs in line it is essential that the statute is strictly adhered to.

  • My child has been taking the bus to school since kindergarten. Now that she is going to middle school I have been told that transportation will no longer be provided unless I want to pay for it. How can this be? We live closer to the elementary school my child attended than North Middle.

    As I mentioned earlier, the distance for determining transportation increases from one to two miles in sixth-grade. The elementary school your child attended is more than a mile from your home as is North Middle. However, North Middle is within the two-mile radius of your home, therefore transportation is not provided to your child now that she is attending the middle school. Again, the State dictates that children within a two-mile radius of their homes are not eligible for District-provided transportation. Electors in our District changed that to one-mile for children in elementary school because of their young age.

  • My first child is starting school in the fall. We are just about one mile from the school. How can I find out for sure if my child is eligible for transportation?

    The District is in the process of creating a database of District addresses with transportation eligibility references for each school to assist in answering this and many other questions. Please call the District for help in determining if your particular address is eligible. Remember, sometimes even small differences such as what side of the street you live on or where on the street your house is located can make a difference in eligibility so it is important to have a precise understanding.

  • My neighbor's children attend private school and yet I noticed they are transported to school by Johnson Bus Company. I am told that service is paid for by the public school district. Why is the District transporting students to private schools?

    Just as state law requires a district to provide transportation for students to the nearest public school, it also requires a school district to transport a resident pupil to and from a private school under two conditions: (1) if that student lives within the attendance area of that private school, and (2) if that private school is situated within the public school district or not more than five miles beyond the boundaries of the school district, measured along the usually traveled route.

  • My friend said he receives a payment from the District because his children, who attend a private school, do not ride the bus to school. I pay property taxes and do not have children in school. Why don't I receive a payment?

    The payment your friend receives is called a "Parent Contract." State law says that if the cost of providing transportation for students attending a private school exceeds one and one-half times the District's average cost in the previous year, the District may offer a "Parent Contract." The District pays the parents of students attending that private school an amount equal to its average cost per pupil (based on the previous year's cost). The parent must then provide transportation for their child to the private school. This payment is one of several options available to public school districts to fulfill its obligation to provide transportation to all eligible resident students regardless whether they attend public or private school. It is not a payment for not riding the bus.
  • My children attend a Catholic school, which I drive them to every day. I just learned that my friend, whose children also attend Catholic school but at a different church, are bussed to school by the School District of Menomonee Falls. Our churches are not that far apart. Why does the District provide transportation to my friend's church, but not to mine? I checked with my church and we do live within the "attendance area" of our church's school. Why can't my children ride the bus?

    When the attendance areas of two or more private parochial schools of the same denomination overlap, state law requires the School Board and the private schools to determine which school will receive transportation service in that overlapping area. In this case, your friend's church was chosen as the school that would receive District transportation. However, whenever new construction begins, adjustments to routes and stops will be made, as necessary.

    Many issues revolving around childcare providers and transportation prompt hundreds of calls to the District each school year. Below, please find questions regarding circumstances a child may be bussed to school from a child care provider's home.

  • My childcare provider lives more than a mile from my son's school, but the District said they will not bus him to school. Why?

    Transportation eligibility is based on the child's home residence, not the childcare provider's home. Your home is within the one-mile distance.

  • My childcare provider lives closer to my daughter's school than I do and yet the District will not pick her up from the babysitter's home. This doesn't make any sense.

    Check to see if your provider's home is within the school's attendance area. It is likely that your provider's home is in the attendance area of another school. Maps outlining the attendance areas for the District's four elementary schools are available at the District's Central Office. It is also possible that your provider's home is not on an existing bus route.

  • My babysitter's children and mine are both eligible for transportation under the guidelines set by the State. I only work in the morning and I am home by the time school lets out. Why can't my child be picked up in the morning from the babysitter's house but dropped off at my house after school?

    Your house and your babysitter's house are not on the same route. Providing a seat on two bus routes for every child in the District in a similar situation would mean three or four additional buses each day at a cost of $17,000 to $20,000 each. The District simply can't afford to do that.

  • The District says it has to set limits to avoid excessive transportation costs. Why, then, do we pay to transport students to our schools who are enrolled in the Chapter 220 program?

    We don't provide the transportation for students enrolled in the Chapter 220 program. That is a common misconception. Transportation for students in the Chapter 220 program the responsibility of the Milwaukee Public School District.

  • How and by whom are "unusual hazards" determined?

    The County Sheriff, not the School District determines whether students who otherwise walk to school must receive transportation service because of an "unusual hazard."

    The District submits written requests for an evaluation to the County Sheriff if administrators or residents feel a hazard exists.

    The sheriff's department then observes the area and consults with the local police department to make a determination.

    The sheriff files a written report with the District and the Department of Public Instruction.

    If the evaluation was requested by a resident, the District is responsible for sending a copy of the report to the party requesting it.

    The results of the evaluation may be appealed to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

    "Unusual hazards" may be permanent, such as areas where elementary students may need to cross Appleton Avenue in place where there are no crossing guards. They may also be temporary, as maybe the case during road and sewer construction. During that time, temporary routes and stops are established to provide a safe means for students to travel to and from school. When that the construction is finished, all such routes and stops will be eliminated next school year.

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