Is it safe for my child to ride a school bus?
Yes, a school bus is 96% safer than your family car.
According to the National Safety Council (based on 2007 statistics), the national school bus accident rate is 0.01 per 100 million miles traveled, compared to 0.04 for trains, 0.06 for commercial aviation and 0.96 for other passenger vehicles. Therefore, the federal government considers school buses to be about nine times safer that other passenger vehicles during the normal school commute. Nationally, only 6 children are fatally injured inside a school bus each year, and 16 receive similar injuries outside the bus while boarding or unboarding. This is a 200% improvement since 1975, but still not good enough. 96% of all school bus injuries are minor bumps, scrapes, bruises, etc. Fatalities occurring outside the school bus are frequently caused by students running to catch a bus when arriving late. We ask everyone to arrive 5 minutes prior to the scheduled bus departure time. Another major contributor is vehicles running school bus stop paddles, and ignoring the red flashing warning lights. Use caution when driving near school buses.
Why aren't there seat belts in all school buses?
They aren't necessary on most buses because of "compartmentalization".
On school buses over 10,000 lbs, occupant protection is provided by "compartmentalization," not safety belts. Compartmentalization is the name for the protective envelope created by strong, closely-spaced seats that have energy-absorbing high seat backs that protect occupants in the event of a crash. School buses also have other features that contribute to the high level of safety they provide each occupant. Features such as emergency exits, roof structure, fuel systems, and body joint strength make the bus stronger, larger, heavier, and safer than most other vehicles on the road today. Compartmentalization doesn't require the student to do anything, like buckle a belt, to be effective.
On smaller school buses that have seat belts installed students are required by law to wear their belt properly adjusted. (WAC 392145-021)
Why can't the bus stop in front of my house?
Stop locations are determined by legality, safety, and efficiency.
The overwhelming consideration in determining the location of bus stops is the safety of our students. Certain situations, such as sharp curves or hills, are avoided so drivers will have a clear view of a stopped bus and will be able to stop in time. Stops are placed in locations where they will provide a safe and convenient location for the most students while helping us route our buses in the most efficient manner possible. Bus drivers cannot make unauthorized stops. The penalty for a driver doing so could range from suspension to termination. Please, don't ask the driver to take such a risk by asking them to stop at a location other than an authorized stop. If you have concerns regarding the location of your child's bus stop contact our Transportation Director or Supervisor.
My child has special needs. Who do I contact to arrange for bus transportation?
Special needs students have a first point of contact.
The Special Services office is the first point of contact for your special needs student. You may contact them at 206.433.2125.
Special program transportation is provided for AYP, Balance, ECEAP, ELL, Gifted, and Special Education students. Frequently, your special needs student will be the only child at their bus stop. It is important that you communicate with Transportation about his/her attendance. If your child does not ride, and you do not call to report their absence for 3 days in a row, the bus will stop coming by until you call to reinstate the service. If they do not ride and you do not call for an extended period your stop may be removed from the run completely and you'll have to start the transportation process over again. We do this to reduce costs for Highline School District. Sending buses by to stops that are not being used wastes our limited resources. Call us at 206.631.7502 to report if your child will not be using the bus.
Why does my child have to walk to school?
Transportation is not funded for students within a certain distance from their school.
The State of Washington funds school districts for transport of regular education elementary school age students living further than one mile from their service area school. It provides funding for transport of middle school age students living further than 1.5 miles from their service area school. And, it funds transport of high school age students living further than 2 miles from their service area school. Special Education students may be transported inside these limits, if it is required by their program IEP. Regular education students wishing to attend a school outside their residential service area are responsible for their own transportation. Safe Walking Route maps are provided to aid you in selecting a safe direction of travel to and from school for your student.
Why can't my child board the bus at any bus stop?
It's the law!
WAC 392-145-060 (State Law) requires the school bus driver to allow students to board and depart the bus only at his or her 'assigned' school bus stop, or at their school.
Can my child ride a different bus, with a friend, or for a special situation?
Yes, with a written note.
The Highline School District requires a signed note from the parent/guardian/school administrator indicating the date and the alternate bus stop location desired. School administrators must sign each note before it is presented to the driver for alternate travel home. Students must present a signed note prior to boarding at a stop other than their own going to school. Students will only be transported to/from existing school bus stops.
I'm a Highline District teacher/administrator. Can I drive students in my car or in a rented vehicle to special events or in emergency situations?
Yes, when it is an urgent situation and a child is ill, but not to special events.
Most often you need to complete our Type 2 driver training course, and meet stringent Washington State requirements. Check out our Type 2 License page.
I'ld like to become a bus driver/monitor. Are you hiring?
Yes! Join Our Team!
Highline School District frequently has need to hire new drivers and monitors. We regularly schedule training classes which prepare drivers to pass the state test for a Commercial Driver License (CDL) class B, with a School Bus endorsement. For information on the timing of our classes contact our Driver Trainer, Kay Ware. For information on salary and benefit information, please, go to the Education Resource and Administrative Center (ERAC) at 15675 Ambaum Blvd SW, Burien, WA. Ask for a job description and employment application at the Human Resources main desk.