We are pleased to provide a variety of key links and information in our Resources section. Please click the appropriate link at left.
At right, we have included links to some of the key community organizations in District 181. Fliers from these organizations and other local groups can be found in the Community Backpack, accessible from the Quicklinks section at the bottom of our website, or click here to visit the Community Backpack page.
FAQ D181 Bus Transportation 2018-19
- What are the bus transportation changes approved by the District 181 Board of Education for 2018-19?
- Why was this change made?
- How is a Serious Safety Hazard determined?
- What are the next steps for identifying hazards?
- How is the 1.5 miles measured?
- How much will this measure save?
- What is the state law regarding schools and bus transportation?
- How will this change affect those in individual schools and/or students with IEPs?
- Bus Transportation changes by school:
- When will the District determine bus transportation eligibility?
- When will the District determine bus routing information?
- Is every school district required to provide free transportation services to its students?
- Is there a statutory requirement that the District provide specific documents to parents prior to reducing transportation services?
- What has the District done to review the hazardous walking routes and is there a requirement that the District wait to implement changes to the previously submitted IDOT Serious Safety Hazards?
- Will the District realize the original estimated savings by the reduction of transportation services?
- What has the administration done to address the concerns made by parents and conditions for each walking route?
- What bus transportation services do other school districts provide?
- Is the District considering other options for transporting students who were affected by the eligibility changes?
- Can parents pay for bus transportation?
- What if I have specific questions about bus eligibility?
After discussion and investigation into ways to cut expenses in the 2018-19 budget, on April 9, the Board approved increasing bus eligibility requirements from 1 mile to 1.5 miles, which align with Illinois State Board of Education guidelines and District policy. The result will be the elimination of bus transportation for students whose walking route is less than 1.5 miles and does not include an Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) Serious Safety Hazard that can be mitigated by the use of crossing guards. Students whose walking route includes an IDOT Serious Safety Hazard that cannot be mitigated by the use of crossing guards, will remain eligible for District-provided bus transportation regardless of distance.
We realize that this will affect some of our students and families, and provide some hardship to established family routines. These types of decisions were discussed with the full Board of Education during several meetings. The decisions did not come easy and were weighed against the impact on other potential reductions that would have directly affected learning.
This change was one of many that will be cut from the 2018-19 budget. In all, the administration recommended roughly $2 million in cuts and efficiency reductions to create a balanced budget. The Board’s priority was NOT to cut items that affect children’s learning in the classroom. It has been several years since the District has invested in the long-term maintenance of facilities and a reevaluation of how much we spend on facilities was recently made. In the past, $500,000 was spent each year on facility repairs but a current analysis showed that $2 million is needed to repair and maintain our school buildings each year. The Board discussed budget cuts at its regular business meetings in March, April and May as well as Finance Committee meetings, In addition, the administration administered a letter and survey to parents and staff regarding potential cuts. The results of that survey showed that both favored changing bus eligibility over other cuts.
A Serious Safety Hazard is determined in accordance with guidelines established by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT). If an Illinois School District believes an area could qualify as an IDOT Serious Safety Hazard (e.g. crossing railroad tracks), a study by a transportation safety consultant is required. IDOT will review the findings and determine whether or not a Serious Safety Hazard exists.
The School District annually reviews the conditions and determines whether or not the hazardous conditions remain unchanged. The designation of new safety hazards in our District is unlikely because the D181 area is a well-established community with little infrastructure changes. A study by a transportation safety consultant is currently underway.
Each bus used for transporting students to and from school costs $44,000 yearly. The District will save from $230,000 to $310,000 every year by eliminating a minimum of five middle school bus routes and up to three elementary school bus routes. These estimates are based on current student enrollment. The savings will not be finalized until 2018-19 student registration is complete and the final bus routes are established.
The State of Illinois Pupil Transportation guidelines for our District require providing bus service for students whose walking route is more than 1.5 miles from school or whose route contains an IDOT Serious Safety Hazard not addressed by a crossing guard. The change in bus transportation next year will meet those State of Illinois Pupil Transportation guidelines.
Madison, The Lane, Walker – Based on the central “neighborhood” location and size of the boundaries at Madison, The Lane and Walker, no regular education bus service is currently provided.
Monroe – There will be no change to the existing bus transportation; service will continue from the area north of Ogden Avenue to the school.
Oak School – Because Oak students live within 1.5 miles of the school, bus transportation will no longer be provided.
Prospect School – Because Prospect students live within 1.5 miles of the school, bus transportation will be no longer be provided.
Elm School – Based on distance and IDOT Serious Safety Hazards, a portion of this area will continue to be served by bus transportation. We will have more information after mapping the District.
Hinsdale Middle School (HMS):
- Bus service will continue for all HMS students who reside in the Elm School boundary area.
- Bus service will continue for all HMS students who reside in The Lane boundary area.
- Nearly all HMS students who reside in the Madison School boundary are less than 1.5 miles and will no longer receive bus transportation. There are several homes in the far Southwest section of the Madison boundary area, however, who will qualify for bus transportation based on distance.
- Nearly all HMS students who reside in the Oak School boundary who are less than 1.5 miles will no longer receive bus transportation. There are several homes in the far Southeast section of the Oak boundary area, however, which will qualify for bus transportation based on distance.
Clarendon Hills Middle School (CHMS):
- Bus service will continue for all CHMS students who reside in the Walker School boundary.
- All CHMS students who reside in the Prospect School boundary are less than 1.5 miles and will no longer receive bus transportation.
- CHMS students in the Monroe School boundary North of Ogden Avenue will continue to receive bus transportation.
- CHMS students in the Monroe School boundary South of Ogden Avenue will qualify for bus transportation if their walking route is greater than 1.5 miles. Students whose walking route is less than 1.5 miles will no longer receive bus transportation. A crossing guard will be provided for students who reside North of Chicago Avenue to assist in crossing Chicago Avenue.
In short, no. Per Section 29-3 of the School Code, only certain types of school districts are required by law to provide free transportation services. Specifically, community consolidated districts, community unit districts, consolidated districts and consolidated high school districts, and combined school districts (if the combined school district includes any district that was previously required to provide transportation) shall provide free transportation for pupils residing at a distance of 1.5 miles or more from any school to which they are assigned for attendance maintained within the district.
Here is a detailed list of districts that are required or not required to provide transportation for free. Statutory Citation: 105 ILCS 5/29-3
For more information regarding Illinois State Board of Education guidance on School District Transportation, this link can be used. In addition, a set of Frequently Asked Questions from the Illinois State Board of Education on transportation can be found here.
In short, no. It is the administration's responsibility to conduct due diligence of the proposed and approved transportation changes, to recommend necessary changes, and to engage appropriate agencies (e.g. Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois State Board of Education) in this work. As such, the administration is continuing to conduct a multi-pronged study that includes an objective assessment of transportation related data. As part of that work, we are currently completing a walking route calculation for all current D181 families’ addresses that are or could be impacted by this change.
In addition, we have met and/or participated in phone conversations to address parent concerns. In addition, Illinois School Code language regarding transportation is permissive in many instances. In fact, the District has provided a service for our community for many years that is not mandated by the State. It should also be noted that safety hazards can be mitigated with the use of traffic controls, such as using crossing guards rather than the District providing bus services. The School Code does not contain specific actions that are required when making a decision to implement these changes.
With that said, once the change in services was approved and up to this point, the administration has been working to communicate the change and to address individual concerns from parents. Many documents have been posted on BoardDocs and this change in service has been communicated to parents multiple times via Board summaries and communications to parents.
The District has asked that an outside expert provide an unbiased review of the previously identified safety hazards. This is part of our due diligence and verification to make sure that our understanding of these areas is correct. An initial analysis was shared at the May 21, 2018 Board meeting. We will provide the documents from this analysis when they are finalized, but we have provided a summary of the findings as the information is being received due to need to move forward with this work in a timely manner. The IDOT-required criteria and point allocation system will be included with these documents.
The administration will submit the updated list of identified safety hazards to the Board and will recommend approval in the near future.
There is no language in 105 ILCS 5/29-3 stating that there is a duty to complete a specified process before eliminating any bus service that was provided as a result of a change in classifications (i.e., no longer deemed to be classified as a safety hazard).
The administration and transportation consultant have separately conducted physical observations of these areas at different times of the day, including peak hours, to better understand and evaluate the traffic patterns and conditions. This analysis included the application of the Illinois Department of Transportation evaluation method. The consultant has been determined that several of the previously identified areas would no longer qualify as a serious safety hazard if submitted for IDOT approval.
Only school districts that are “consolidated” are required by state law to provide bus transportation to students who live 1.5 miles or whose walking route has a serious safety hazard as defined by IDOT. Only one school district surveyed indicated that they provide busing services to families who live under 1.5 miles.
Families whose eligibility has changed can arrange for bus transportation through First Student. The District has facilitated Parent-Paid transportation with the bus company First Student for those who bus eligibility has changed. First Student will manage all aspects of Parent-Paid transportation. There are two options available:
- Option A: 2018-19 bus transportation will be provided on planned D181 bus routes and is subject to availability of seats. The availability of Option A may not be known until Labor Day.
- Option B: Bus transportation is provided to a group of students whose parents contract for chartered service directly with First Student.
By June 30, parents were asked to let First Student know of their interest in either of these options.