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Rules and Regulations of the State of Georgia
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Subject 160-5-3 STUDENT TRANSPORTATION MANAGEMENT

Rule 160-5-3-.01 Purchase of School Buses

(1) REQUIREMENTS.
(a) Local school systems shall ensure that any school bus body and chassis purchased and/or used for the purpose of transporting public school students of Georgia to and from school conforms to the current Georgia School Bus Specifications, available from the department.
(b) In the purchase of school bus bodies and chassis local school systems shall either:
1. Purchase the school bus, body, or chassis in accordance with the provisions of a state-wide contract negotiated by the Georgia Department of Administrative Services; or
2. Purchase the school bus, body, or chassis in accordance with the purchasing policies and procedures of the school system.

Rule 160-5-3-.02 Contracted Transportation Services

(1) DEFINITIONS.
(a) Local Board of Education - a county or independent board of education exercising control and management of a local school system pursuant to Article VIII, Section V, Paragraph II of the Georgia Constitution.
(b) Public School - any school or special entity as defined in State Board Rule 160-5-1-.03 Identification and Reporting of Schools.
(2) REQUIREMENTS.
(a) Local boards of education shall ensure that drivers of all school buses contracted for the purpose of transporting students meet the same requirements as drivers of public school busses.
(b) No public school shall enter into an agreement with a motor carrier or contract carrier for the purpose of transporting students without first verifying that such carrier is certified by the Public Service Commission as required by Article 1 of Chapter 7 of Title 46, of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration or any other similarly required certifying agency.
(c) A public school contracting for transportation services must receive a copy of the carrier's proof of legally required minimum insurance coverage and a valid certification number demonstrating that the carrier is currently certified by the commission, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or any other similarly required certifying agency before the carrier may transport students.

Rule 160-5-3-.03 School Bus Inspections

(1) Requirements.
(a) Local units of administration shall ensure that all school buses are inspected annually by the Department of Motor Vehicle Safety.
(b) Local units of administration maintenance or service personnel shall inspect all school buses monthly and record the results on forms provided by the Department of Education. A local form may be used in lieu of the department's form upon approval from the department.
(c) The local system superintendent shall notify the Department of Education in writing of any material or construction defect found in new school buses.

Rule 160-5-3-.04 School Bus Insurance

(1) Requirement.
(a) The local board of education shall maintain the following minimum liability insurance coverage: $100,000 per person; $300,000 each accident; $50,000 property damage; and $5,000 medical and death payment.

Rule 160-5-3-.05 Repealed

Rule 160-5-3-.06 Repealed

Rule 160-5-3-.07 Repealed

Rule 160-5-3-.08 School Bus Drivers

(1) DEFINITIONS.
(a) Non-resident - a person who has his or her place of residence in a state other than Georgia.
(b) Physician - a doctor of medicine or osteopathy licensed by the Georgia Composite Medical Board pursuant to Article 2, Chapter 34, Title 43 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated.
(c) Regular school bus driver (operator) - a person who is a regularly employed driver (operator) and who is not on the substitute list.
(d) Resident - a person who has his or her place of residence in the state of Georgia.
(e) School bus driver (operator) - a person, appropriately licensed, who controls the operation of a school bus.
(f) Substitute school bus driver (operator) - a person who is not a regularly employed driver (operator).
(g) School bus driver trainer - a person who is responsible for the required initial training of school bus drivers.
(2) REQUIREMENTS.
(a) The local board of education shall employ both regular and substitute drivers of school buses upon the recommendation of the system superintendent of schools.
(b) Local school systems shall select school bus drivers using the following minimum criteria:
1. The minimum age to qualify as a bus driver is 18 years.
2. Evidence of a physical examination by a physician or legally authorized designee within 60 days prior to the date of employment. A physician may delegate to certain specific healthcare professionals, including physician assistants and certified nurse practitioners, the authority to sign, certify, and endorse documents relating to physical examination forms required by the State Board of Education as authorized by law. See O.C.G.A. § 43-34-23, 43-34-25, 43-34-103.
(c) To be considered for reemployment for any ensuing school year, the driver shall pass the annual medical examination prescribed by the Department, not more than 60 days before the beginning of the school year and as often thereafter as the local system's board of education deems necessary.
(d) Licensing.
1. Local school systems shall ensure that resident school bus drivers have a Georgia Commercial Driver's License (CDL) Class A, B or C.
2. School bus drivers shall obtain a CDL Class A, B or C license with a "S" endorsement, which authorizes the driver to drive a school bus. (The driver of an air-brake-equipped bus shall not have an "L" restriction which restricts him or her to vehicles not equipped with air brakes.)
3. Local school systems shall ensure that non-resident school bus drivers have an appropriate license, issued by their home state, to operate a school bus.
(e) Salary.
1. School systems shall not pay to any regular driver in their employment, regardless of the type of ownership, a salary less than that prescribed by the state uniform minimum salary schedule ($6,000 annually). The driver shall receive the state minimum daily salary for 12 months provided the driver works the entire school year. The school year includes any authorized sick and personal leave.
2. Substitute drivers shall be paid by the local board of education and not by the regular school bus driver. The pay scale for substitute school bus drivers shall be determined by the local board of education.
(f) School Bus Driver Education.
1. Local school systems shall ensure that every new school bus driver satisfactorily completes a training program approved by the Department prior to driving a school bus used to transport students. The initial training program for school bus drivers shall consist of at least 24 hours of training. A description of the required training program is found in the Georgia School Bus Driver Training Manual, available from the Department.
2. Local school systems shall require all school bus driver trainers be trained and certified through a training program offered by the Department.
3. Local school systems shall require all school bus drivers to attend the annual in-service training and safety programs provided by the Department.
4. Local school systems shall report all accidents in which school buses are involved to the Department on forms provided by the Department.

Rule 160-5-3-.09 Repealed

Rule 160-5-3-.10 Student Transportation Funding Surveys

(1) PURPOSE. The purpose of the student transportation funding survey is to determine bus needs for allotment purposes, ascertain standard costs for allotment purposes, enhance safety, improve services to pupils, and promote the efficient operation of school transportation service.
(2) REQUIREMENTS.
(a) State funds for student transportation shall be based on the participation of the local boards of education in the funding survey process by making essential data available to the Department which reflects providing student transportation services, using to the extent possible, the following criteria.
1. Regular transportation.
(i) Buses shall be routed as uniformly as practical, planned and operated with minimum bus mileage, avoid traveling empty and making excessive bus stops, and designed without excess spur routes. Every effort shall be made to avoid routing buses across railroads and expressways, unless the crossings are protected by proper traffic signals.
(ii) Bus routes shall, to the extent possible, be designed so as to use all required buses for a minimum of one and one-half hours each morning.
(iii) The standard walking distance to trunk bus routes shall not be more than one-half mile. In addition to the standard walking distance, walk route conditions, road conditions and satisfactory turnaround places shall be considered in planning spur routes.
(iv) School bus stops shall not be closer than one-tenth mile.
(v) The number of students living within one and one-half miles of their assigned school shall be included in the data submitted to the Department although it will not be used for the allotment of state funds.
(vi) The first morning trip of a bus shall begin where the first student is picked up and end at the school to which the students are delivered. The second trip shall begin at the school where the first load was delivered and end at the school where the second load is delivered. Additional trips shall be measured in like manner.
(vii) Bus routes shall end in the morning at the school where the last load is delivered.
2. Special Education, State Schools and Transportation for Physically Disabled Students.
(i) Routing designs shall be as uniform and practical as possible with consideration given to efficiency and necessary services required by the special needs student. The routing of school buses shall be planned and operated with minimum bus mileage, utilizing, when possible, multisystem student assignments for buses servicing state schools.
(ii) The first morning trip of a bus shall begin where the first student is picked up and end at the school where the students are delivered. The second trip shall begin at the school where the first load was delivered and end at the school where the second load is delivered. Additional trips shall be measured in like manner.
(iii) Bus routes shall end in the morning at the school where the last load is delivered.
(iv) School systems shall ensure that student transportation to and from state-operated schools is provided. School systems are responsible for transporting students at the beginning and end of the school term and for school holidays, including Thanksgiving, Christmas, and spring break.
3. Vocational Education Transportation.
(i) Routing for vocational education shall be school-to-school on the safest and most direct route. A minimum of 10 high school students shall be transported to a vocational program to earn transportation funds.
(ii) Local school systems shall annually provide to the Department the information necessary to determine vocational funds.

Rule 160-5-3-.11 Standard Cost Development

(1) DEFINITIONS.
(a) Local Board of Education - a county or independent board of education exercising control and management of a local school system pursuant to Article VIII, Section V, Paragraph II of the Georgia Constitution.
(b) State Board of Education - the constitutional authority which defines education policy for the public K-12 education agencies in Georgia.
(c) Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE)-the state agency charged with the fiscal and administrative management of certain aspects of K-12 public education.
(d) Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD)- the state agency charged with protecting and restoring Georgia's environment through clean air and water initiatives, and through partner collaboration.
(2) REQUIREMENTS.
(a) Local boards of education shall receive and use allotments for student transportation for the following transportation costs.
1. Driver Benefits.
(i) Salary.
(ii) Social Security (Employer).
(iii) Sick Leave.
(iv) Required Medical Exam.
2. School Bus Insurance.
(i) Local school systems shall provide the insurance information on cost and coverage as needed on forms provided by the Department.
3. Bus replacement Funds.
(i) Average low bids shall determine the replacement allowance per year over a period of eight years for gasoline-powered or ten years for diesel-powered 35-72 passenger buses, and twelve years for gasoline-powered or fourteen years for diesel-powered 78-90 passenger buses. Type A and Type B buses earn a replacement allowance per year over a period of eight years.
(ii) Any excess paid over and above the low bid price or any payment for optional equipment over and above the minimum standards approved by the state board of education shall not be considered in calculating the replacement funds.
(iii) Any school bus replacement funds that the State Board of Education allocates may be used by local boards of education to refurbish existing school buses.
(iv) Any school bus that is refurbished shall be subject to all safety and maintenance inspection requirements provided for by law. Refurbishment of a school bus shall be done by a bus manufacturer or by a dealer of a manufacturer.
(v) Each local board of education that refurbishes a school bus pursuant to this subsection is strongly encouraged to apply for federal funds to retrofit the engine. The local board of education shall notify the GaDOE of its intention to refurbish a school bus with state funds.
(vi) The State Board of Education shall notify the Environmental Protection Division when a local board of education refurbishes a school bus with state funds so that the division may provide information to such local board regarding the availability of federal funds for such purposes.
(vii) Any school buses that are refurbished using bus replacement funds from the state board shall not be eligible for any further state funds for replacement.
4. Operating Funds.
(i) The actual expenditures and total annual route/mileage reported by local school systems shall be used to determine the costs per mile. The cost of fuel, oil, tires, batteries, parts, and shop, clerical, and supervisory salaries is used in this calculation. The actual expenditures and total annual route mileage shall be reported on forms provided by the Department.
(ii) All school bus routes shall be measured at least once per school year by the local superintendent or designee.
(iii) Local school systems shall be ranked according to utilization per regular bus (unit). Utilization per bus is the number of unduplicated students transported per bus as assigned by the most recent survey. The systems shall be divided into four categories of equal size. Categories will be evaluated at lease every three years.
5. Extended Mileage.
(i) Special education mileage shall be paid when the school bus is used beyond the time and mileage requirements in the regular or special education program. Extended mileage shall also be paid when the school bus in used for transporting residential students to and from state operated schools.
(ii) Vocational extended mileage shall be paid for school to school transportation when the bus is used beyond the time and mileage requirements in the regular or special education program.

Rule 160-5-3-.12 Repealed

Rule 160-5-3-.13 Student Safety

(1) Requirements.
(a) Local units of administration shall ensure that students receive instruction annually in safe riding practices and emergency evacuation.
(b) The loading limit for any school bus shall not exceed 120 percent of the manufacturer's rated seating capacity of the bus.
(c) Local units of administration shall ensure that audio speakers used for music or entertainment are not located in the driver's compartment of the school bus. All above-mentioned speakers on existing buses shall be disconnected or removed.

Rule 160-5-3-.14 Fuels and Explosives

(1) Requirements.
(a) School systems shall ensure that no explosive or combustible materials are transported on a public school bus at any time. This includes gasoline, diesel fuel, gasohol, dynamite caps, bullets, gun powder or any material of this nature.
(b) Only law enforcement or school officials authorized by law may have weapons on a public school bus.
(c) Local school systems shall ensure that no student is on a school bus when it is being fueled.

Rule 160-5-3-.15 Alcohol and Controlled Substances Testing

(1) Definition.
(a) Employee engaged in safety-sensitive function - an employee of a local school system who holds a Commercial Driver's License (CDL) and who also operates or has reason to move a school bus or other commercial vehicle. Employees engaged in safety-sensitive functions include, but are not limited to, mechanics, school bus drivers, substitute school bus drivers, maintenance workers, coaches, teachers, and administrators.
(2) Requirement.
(a) Local boards of education shall adopt a policy concerning the testing for alcohol and controlled substance abuse by employees who are engaged in safety-sensitive functions as mandated by federal law. Local boards shall also communicate to employees the dangers of alcohol and controlled substance use and the requirements specified in federal law and regulations.
(b) This rule shall become effective January 1, 1995, for local school systems with 50 or more licensed drivers holding Commercial Driver's Licenses on March 17, 1994. This rule shall become effective January 1, 1996, for systems with fewer than 50 licensed drivers holding Commercial Driver's Licenses on March 17, 1994.

Rule 160-5-3-.16 Bus Transportation Records

(1) Requirements.
(a) Each local school system (LSS) shall annually submit electronically to the Department by the end of the first full week in March a completed Transportation Records and Best Practices Assessment. This assessment instrument shall be signed by the local school superintendent.
(b) The Department shall conduct an on-site assessment of the student transportation system of every school system every five years, or more frequently if requested by the local school system or if the Department perceives that student safety is jeopardized.