Student Transportation Practices
The Rochester Public School
District #535 is committed to providing safe and efficient school bus
transportation to its students. We have a long tradition of providing
this service safely to all students that are eligible under Minnesota
State laws, rules and regulations. The State of Minnesota currently
requires that we transport students living 2 miles or more from the
school that they attend. Rochester Public Schools provide transportation
to students who live more than 1.25 miles from the school that they
attend for K-5 students, 1.5 miles for 6-8 students, and 2 miles for
9-12 students. Students that attend a school other then their assigned
school through an exception are not eligible for this transportation
regardless of the distance. The following will outline the services we
provide and explain how we comply with laws and rules that pertain to
school bus transportation.
Our goal is to provide safe, reliable and efficient transportation to
the students that reside within the boundaries of the school district,
within the constraints of a limited and regulated budget, so when
students arrive at school they are ready to learn.
2. General Information
A. Walking Areas
Traffic safety factors and distance are two primary criteria used to
establish walking areas to schools. The walking area is determined by
measuring the distance from the property entrance at the school to the
property entrance at the residence, using the most direct route
including walking paths, bike trails, etc.
B. Bus Stops
Bus stops will be located at corners or intersections, whenever
possible. The designated area that students wait for the bus must be
within a bus length to the corner(about 40 feet). The bus driver will
designate this area to the students after the first day. This may change during the year. Stopping at corners or intersections is safer
due to the expectations of traffic. When a bus stops mid-block it can
confuse motorists, whereas traffic anticipates the bus will stop or
yield at intersections. It also provides the driver or substitute
driver a landmark (intersection) to identify prior to making the stop so
the eight-lamp system can be properly activated to warn the public.
This also allows the driver to scan the area for students when approaching the intersection. Sidewalks are not necessarily a deciding
factor in bus stop location.
Bus Stop Change Request Please contact First Student Bus Company at 507-289-4541.
School bus drivers do not have the authority to change bus routes or student stops.
Bus Stop Criteria
1. School buses will use the eight-light system and stop arm at all
stops in the Rochester School District unless the bus can safely get out
of the lane of traffic and students do not have to cross the street.
Buses will use their 4-way hazard lights in this situation. In order to
properly operate the eight-light system, no bus stop will be made
within 300 feet of one another.
2. Buses serving students with
disabilities may stop while using their 4-way hazard lights only at
house stops where it takes an extended period of time to load/unload the
student. . At these stops the bus will pull over to the curb at the
driveway and student will not be allowed to cross the roadway. Buses
will not go into the student’s driveway, unless prior approval has been
given due to the hazard of backing out. The bus horn will not be used
to announce arrival.
3. Buses will not generally travel down
cul-de-sacs less than ½ mile unless the vehicle is picking up
handicapped children. Backing a school bus is a dangerous maneuver. A
full-sized bus needs 115 feet to safely turn and most cul-de-sacs are
only 90 feet wide.
4. Unless prior approval has been given and transportation has approved, no school bus will travel on private roads.
Bus stops should be located with clear visibility for 300 feet in both
directions. Stops in a residential area where the speed limit is less
than 35 mph or less may not be located within 100 feet of each other.
Stops in or out of residential areas where the speed limit is 35 mph or
greater may not be located within 300 feet of each other.
Buses may load/unload in right-turn lanes if pre-approval has been
given. 4-way hazard lights will be used and students must not cross the
8. There is not a fixed number of students that warrant
adding or moving a stop. All stops are determined on an individual
9. Visibility from the home to the bus stop is not part of the criteria for establishing bus stops.
10. Stranger-Danger criteria are used only under documented persisting or current cases that public safety can verify.
The bus driving by does not warrant adding or changing a stop. The
higher frequency of stops can make the motoring public “impatient’ and
cause drivers to drive around the bus causing greater safety concern
than the distance a student has to walk to the bus stop. It also delays
the bus, making the overall student time on the bus longer.
C. Bus Routes
Bus routes are arranged according to geographic area and stops are
assigned from 1-3 blocks of a student’s home whenever possible. Students that attend a district-wide school
whose boundaries cover the entire district boundary will be assigned to a
neighborhood bus stop. They will then be bused to a transfer site,
usually a school and transfer to a bus going to their school. Transfers
for district-wide students are important to keep our transportation
system as efficient as possible in both cost and logistics. The bus
route and/or stops may change from year to year based on student
D. Bus Ridership
Students will be sent bus stop information before the start of school
each year. Students must ride the bus that they are assigned and ride
the same bus to and from school unless prior approval from the
Transportation Department has been given. Bus route numbers and animal
pictures will be placed in the side window of each bus to be used. At
the discretion of the bus driver, students may be assigned seats at any
time. Students will be expected to abide by all the school bus safety
rules, which are posted in every bus. Students in grades K-10 must also
attend school bus safety training within the first 6 weeks of school
every year. This is scheduled during the school day.
3. Nonpublic Students
Minnesota Statute 123.79 requires the school district to provide equal
services to nonpublic students in the Rochester Public Schools
4. Activity Busing
Limited late activity buses are provided for middle school students that
stay after school for school sponsored activities. Only those students
who are eligible by state standards are allowed to ride the activity
bus. Currently these routes run Monday- Friday. A listing of the stops
for each school is on our website. With one bus for each middle
school, it is impossible to cover the entire attendance area. As a
result, stops may be much farther away than regular stops. Students not
eligible for regular to and from routing are also not eligible for
5. Daycare Service : The following daycare information will apply.
A. The Transportation
department will regard a student’s daycare location as their residence
for the purpose of transportation if requested by the parent/guardian.
It is necessary that the daycare be located in the same school
attendance area as the child is attending. Transportation will be
provided from the student’s home or daycare if distance requirements are
met as well.
B. The pickup and drop-off bus stop may not vary from
day to day but must be the same location every morning and every
afternoon. Only the following will be considered;
1) Pickup at home, drop off at home,
2) Pickup at home, drop off at daycare,
3) Pickup at daycare, drop off at daycare,
4) Pickup at daycare, drop off at home.
It is imperative that the parent/guardian provide the Transportation
Department with the daycare information by May 1 each year for the
upcoming school year. This allows the department to establish routes as
accurately as possible. Please fill out the Child Care Transportation Request Form for review.