STSWR will endeavor to accommodate joint/shared custody arrangements for students in accordance with this Policy. STSWR and the Board must be satisfied that appropriate safeguards are in place to ensure the safety of the student(s).
Normally, transportation services are provided based on the primary address provided to STSWR by the Board. Where, in accordance with a separation agreement, parenting agreement or court order, a student resides with both parents/guardians in two different residences, STSWR and the Board may consider the provision of transportation services for the student on an alternating schedule between the two residences if:
- both parents agree to the transportation requested;
- the addresses are both eligible for student transportation services to the designated school;
- there is an existing route and stop that the student can be placed on;
- STSWR and the Board will support transportation to and from a secondary address for students in Grade 5 or above provided the safety of the student is adequately addressed through the implementation of an independent transportation safety plan. In determining the student’s capacity to independently manage their transportation plan a student’s age, development and maturity will be considered.
- Cost, operational issues associated, safety and other considerations that may apply with the request; and/or
- morning transportation arrangements for students JK to grade 4 may be considered with the understanding that students are accompanied by parents/guardians until they board the bus and an alternate plan exists in a situation where a student(s) misses the bus.
The Board and STSWR will review the proposed Joint / Shared Custody Transportation Safety Plan (“JSCTS Plan” or the “Plan”) to ensure satisfactory and appropriate alternative arrangements to address any incident in which the student is dropped at the wrong location. In order for the request to be approved, the student must be capable of applying the JSCTS Plan independently.
Transportation requests under this Policy are approved on an annual basis for elementary students only and will be reviewed each school year. Secondary students are required to submit a JSCTS plan in grade 9, which will carry through until graduation.
Eligibility and Bus Stop Location:
Both residence addresses must be in the designated school’s attendance boundary and must be eligible for transportation. Only transportation to existing stops will be approved in order to maintain consistent arrival and departure times for the families on the bus route to ensure parents/guardian are presents to safely receive their children.
Special considerations may be given in rural and isolated areas where safe walking path to an existing stop in unavailable or where current infrastructure in place does not support safe waking to existing stops.
Joint / Shared Custody Transportation Safety Plan (JSCTS Plan)
Each JSCTS Plan will include the following components:
- Confirmation of the requirement that the student(s) is responsible for boarding the right bus and getting off at the right location without any assistance from the school or bus driver;
- The plan provided by the Parents/Guardians in the event a student boards the wrong bus and/or gets off at the wrong location for that day;
- Confirmation by the student and the parents/guardians that the student is able to independently apply the Plan;
- The pick-up and drop-off addresses for each day in accordance with the schedule set out in the separation agreement or parenting agreement or court order;
- Contact information for the parents/guardians; and
- Emergency contact information.
Both Parents/Guardians are responsible for the safety of their children prior to the bus pick up and following the drop off at either location.
The schedule must be manageable by the school, the student and the consortium.
The Plan is subject to approval by STSWR and the Board.
Each parent/guardian and student accepts independent responsibility for implementing the JSCTS Plan, including following the joint/shared custody transportation schedule, boarding the assigned bus and getting off at the assigned stops without the assistance
of school staff or the bus driver, and following the Plan in the event that the student disembarks at the wrong location or gets on the wrong school bus.
Age and maturity:
STSWR and the Boards will only consider Requests for Transportation for students who are in grade five (5) or a higher grade. In considering the request, STSWR and the Board will also consider the following factors:
- In the opinion of the parents/guardians their child(ren) are mature enough to manage the transportation arrangements on their own;
- Parents/Guardians have completed a satisfactory JSCTS Plan that includes steps to be followed if the student does not go to the right address on a given day.
Students in grade 7 and up may be accompanied by a younger sibling when provided with transportation to a second address if:
- In the opinion of the parents they are mature enough to manage the transportation arrangements on their own AND be responsible for the safety of their younger sibling;
- Parents/Guardians have completed a JSCTS Plan that includes steps to be followed if they do not go to the right address on a given day; and,
- All students are eligible for transportation based on the Board’s guidelines (STSWR cannot transport an older student based on a younger sibling’s eligibility).
- Parents/Guardians are responsible to make alternative arrangements for the younger sibling(s) when the older sibling is absent.
Students in grade nine (9) and up are required to submit a JTCTS request to their secondary school. This request will carry over year to year and will need to be updated only if there is a change of address.
- the request only needs to be submitted once as opposed to annually based on the student’s age and maturity level.
The parents/guardians must complete the Joint/Shared Custody Transportation Request form, including the relevant addresses, contact information, and JSCTS Plan. The Application must be signed by both parents/guardians. It must be submitted to the school administration.
Any approval of a request expires at the end of every school year. The parents/guardians must complete and submit a new Request Form each school year.
The School Principal will review the Request Form and documentation to ensure it is complete. The Principal will assess the complexity of the request and the appropriateness of the JSCTS Plan. The Principal will seek the input of STSWR should the Principal have any concerns related to safety. The Principal will submit the Request Form to the Superintendent for approval.
The Principal and Superintendent will liaise with STSWR, which will determine the eligibility of the addresses, whether there is an existing route and/or stop location and identify any safety or operational concerns.
If all eligibility requirements are met, the Request will be approved for a single school year (elementary), or multiple years (secondary).
Once approved the Superintendent will forward a copy of the completed “Joint Custody Transportation Request” to STSWR.
STSWR will assign the students based on the alternative address entered in Trillium and inform the school and transportation provider. Vehicle type will be selected based on availability and may differ from full size bus.
The decision on the Application may be appealed pursuant to the STSWR Appeal Process.