school bus

Answers to question are based on Michigan Compiled Laws (Michigan School Code) and The Pupil Transportation Act (Act 187 of 1990). The answers provided to these frequently asked questions are for general informational purposes and are not intended to give legal advice.


Is a school district required to provide transportation services?

  • School districts are NOT required by law to transport regular education children. Michigan Compiled Law (MCL) 380.1321 outlines the obligations of the school district IF its board of education ELECTS to provide transportation. Under Article 3 of the Revised School Code, the school district is obligated to provide for the transportation of a special education student if the Individualized Educational Planning Committee (IEPC) has determined that the transportation is a specialized service which is included within and necessary to carry out the student's IEP.

May a school district charge a fee for transporting students to and from school?

  • No. According to (MCL) 380.1321(2) Transportation provided under subsection (1) shall be without charge to the resident pupil, the parent, guardian, or person standing in loco parentis to the pupil.

What are school related activities and may a school district charge a fee for transporting students to and from school related activities?

  • School related activities are any activities sponsored by and approved by the school district for students enrolled in that school district. According to (MCL) 380.1332(1) The board of a school district may collect a fee for transporting pupils enrolled in grades K to 12 to or from non-mandatory and noncredit events sponsored by the school district.Fees charged shall cover expenses for the trips involved, under rulespromulgated by the state board.

Is a public school required to transport non-public students?

  • Yes, under the same conditions you provide transportation to your public school students. You are not required to alter your route times, provide transportation to an age group you do not provide for in the public schools, or go outside your district unless you do so for public school students.According to (MCL) 380.1322(1) A pupil attending public school or the nearest state approved nonpublic school available, to which nonpublic school the pupil may be admitted, shall be transported along the regular routes as determined by the board to public and state approved nonpublic schools. Transportation to public and the nearest state approved nonpublic school located within or outside the district to which nonpublic school the pupil is eligible to be admitted shall be provided under the rules promulgated by the state board. Rules shall not require the transportation or payment for transportation for nonpublic school pupils on days when public school pupils are not transported. See also (MCL) 380.1321


Must kindergarten students be picked up in front of their home?
  • There are no special laws or regulations for transporting regular education students enrolled in kindergarten. If your district provides transportation, it will be provided in accordance with the requirements of (MCL) 380.1321, Section 55 of the Pupil Transportation Act, and local district policy with regard to the placement of the bus stop.
What is the maximum distance a student is allowed to walk to the bus stop?
  • No law specifies the maximum distance a student may walk to the bus stop.

Is there a specified distance that must exist between school bus stops?
  • The lights on a school bus which are used to notify other traffic of an upcoming stop must, by law, be activated "not less than 200 feet before the stop" (see PA 187 257.1855 (2)(a)) Thus, bus stops must be at least 200 feet apart.
What are the safety criteria for students walking to and from bus stops?
  • It is the responsibility of the parent or legal guardian to see that a child gets safely to and from the bus stop. The school district provides transportation as a non-mandated service and establishes placement of the bus stops in accordance with the requirements of the law.

What is the maximum school bus "riding time"?
  • There is no maximum riding time in the law for children in kindergarten through grade 12.

What is the minimum distance a bus stop must be from the address of a registered sex offender?
  • There is no provision in the law to prevent a bus stop from being at or near the home of a registered sex offender.


Are students allowed to bring large musical instruments, book bags or school project onto the school bus?
  • These objects can be transported as long as they are held on the student's lap or secured in an appropriate manner. According to PA 187 section 257.1811(10) All baggage, articles, equipment, or medical supplies not held by individual passengers shall be secured in a manner which assures unrestricted access to all exits by all occupants, does not restrict the driver's ability to operate the bus, and protects all occupants against injury resulting from falling or displacement of any baggage, article, or equipment Oxygen cylinders secured to a wheelchair shall be considered to be in compliance with this subsection, provided they do not impede access to any exit.


What is the minimum age for a school bus driver?
  • 18 years old. According to PA 187 Section 257.1849 (1) A person, whether or not licensed under the Michigan vehicle code, Act No. 300 of the Public Acts of 1949, being sections 257.1 to 257.923 of the Michigan Compiled Laws, who is 17 years of age or less shall not drive a school bus or pupil transportation vehicle.


Is it legal for a school district to transport more than the manufacturer's seating capacity on their buses?
  • You may transport more than rated capacity until the fourth Friday after Labor Day. According to PA 187 section 257.1859(2) After the fourth Friday following Labor day of each school year a school bus shall not be used to transport more than 100% of the number of persons for which the school bus has a rated seating capacity.
What type of "van" can a school district use to transport students to and from school and school-related activities?
  • A school district may not purchase, rent, or own a van rated more than 10 passengers and they must meet or exceed the federal motor carrier passenger protection standards. According to PA 187 Section 257.1810 (2) A vehicle, other than a school bus, with a manufacturer's rated seating capacity of 11 or more passengers, including the driver, shall not be used to transport pupils to or from school or school-related events after October 1, 2002, except as provided in this act.

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