The Zeeland Public Schools Transportation Department’s mission is to provide the safest and most efficient means of transporting your students to and from school.
Did you know the yellow bus is 27 times safer than an automobile when comparing modes of transportation to and from school?
We have a staff of 59 professionally trained and certified school bus drivers who use the utmost care bringing your students to and from school each day. Our staff of 3 full time certified professional mechanics maintains our fleet with a commitment to safety and reliability. Our administrative and office staff, consisting of the Transportation Director, 2 full time and 1 part time secretaries, strives to provide prompt and courteous services to all students with integrity and efficiency.
The Zeeland School District consists of approximately 94 square miles, which are serviced by 52 school buses on 167 regular bus runs, transporting approximately 9,000 students daily. The vehicles travel more than 600,000 miles annually for regular education.
The average ride on a school bus is approximately 10 miles/35 minutes long. This means that your student, over a 13-year period, may travel up to 47,320 miles (twice around the world) or 2,839 hours (354 eight hour work days) on a school bus
ZPass is designed for school transportation to track and monitor student ridership in a safe and non-intrusive way. Knowing if and when a student got on or off the bus accounts for a significant portion of calls parents make to schools and is information that schools need to know. ZPass provides accurate and immediate answers.
Students carry a small card that contains passive RFID (Radio Frequency Identification Device) technology that logs each student’s entry or exit automatically when the student passes the scanner located on the school bus.
Each student will be assigned a bus card that they will need to carry with them every day to and from school. The cards should be used throughout the day if students go on field trips and are involved in athletic events, as well as every day transportation to and from home.
An added feature is ZPass+ which gives parents a new level of comfort and assurance. By simple notifications of where and when their child gets on or off the school bus sent directly through push notifications or cell phone text message. Parents can activate the account by visiting www.zpassplus.com and signing up to receive instant messaging to a cell phone or an email account. Parents will need their child’s Zpass card number. After activating the ZPass+ account, parents can log in to the password protected website to view their child’s bus riding activity. A small monthly fee will apply.
For more information please visit Zonar’s website.
Above information taken from Zonar Systems website
Student Crossing Procedure:
To Board the Bus:
- Students wait in a group at the designated bus stop at least 10 feet away from the edge of the roadway and watch the bus driver for the signal to cross.
- Bus drivers will display a sign (see below) to indicate when it is safe to cross the street.
- Students proceed directly across the road always staying well in front of the bus and board the bus.
- Do not stop in the middle of the street or cross behind the bus.
- Bus stops will be placed at legal locations consistent with Board policy or if required by law.
When Exiting the Bus:
- Students exit the bus and take 10 giant steps in front of the bus staying on the side of the street.
- Students stand in a group and look to the bus driver for the signal to cross.
- Bus drivers will display a sign to indicate when it is safe to cross the street.
Red stop sign means “STOP”
Yellow smile face means “CROSS SAFELY”
- Students proceed to a point even with the left side of the bus and stop.
- Students look left and right for passing cars.
- Students look to the driver for instruction to complete the crossing.
- Do not cross behind the bus.
- If a paper or article goes under the school bus, always ask the bus driver for help.
- Do not get mail from roadside mailboxes until after the bus leaves the stop.
School bus drivers are required to do Emergency Evacuations three (3) times during the school year (fall, winter and spring).
Please be aware of the Bus Safety procedures and to stay out of the danger zone. When the bus arrives, stay away from the wheels.
Follow these bus rules – same as all class rooms
- Be polite to everyone on the bus.
- The bus driver may assign seats
- For everyone’s safety, do not distract the driver.
- Do not swear or use inappropriate words.
- Electronic devices including; iPod’s, iPad’s and cell phones are to be kept to yourself and not shared with others.
- No photographs or videos to be taken on the bus.
- Remain seated at all times. Do not change seats.
- Keep head, hands and feet inside the bus.
- Keep hands to yourself.
- No smoking or lighting matches/lighters.
- Do not deface or destroy anything on the bus.
- Keep aisle clear of feet, backpacks and bodies.
- Schools buses are a NO-BULLYING ZONE!
- Do not eat or drink on the bus; keep the bus clean
- All sports gear is to be enclosed in a sport bag.
Misbehavior on Bus: Penalty at discretion of principal depending on circumstances (may include removal from bus for 1 to 10 days or permanent removal from bus by a formal hearing). Serious misbehavior on the bus may also be cause for punishment up to and including suspension or expulsion from school.
Riding a school bus is a privilege and convenience for students and their parents; as such, everyone accepts certain responsibilities to ensure student safety while utilizing this service. Students and parents are advised that the Zeeland Public Schools student code of conduct will be enforced relevant to student behavior on the school bus. The school will cooperate with parents and law enforcement agencies relevant to behavior to and from school.
Students and parents are advised of the following responsibilities as per the Michigan Regulations for School buses, Bulletin #431 and local policy:
It is the responsibility of Zeeland Public Schools to:
- Develop bus routes and schedules.
- Determine the mile computation as required by the Board of Education and State requirements.
- Provide appropriate student information to bus drivers.
- Provide vehicles that meet or exceed the requirements of state law pertaining to vehicles utilized to transport school students.
- Provide appropriate insurance coverage.
- Hire certified and qualified staff.
- Provide ongoing training for the transportation staff.
- Recommend to the Superintendent when schools should be closed due to inclement weather.
- In conjunction with Building Principals, develop and administer disciplinary procedures for students who exhibit inappropriate bus riding behaviors.
It is the responsibility of each parent to:
- Provide for your students’ safety to, from, and while at the bus stop.
- Have the student at the bus stop at least five (5) minutes ahead of the scheduled stop time.
- Always stress SAFETY at stop locations and on the bus. STUDENTS ARE TO STAY OFF THE ROAD AT ALL TIMES WHILE WAITING FOR THE BUS.
- Make sure each child has a backpack for lunch, school books, etc.
- No pets or large items such as large boxes, sleds, skateboards, bats, etc. are allowed on the bus. Items which are sharp or breakable should be carried in a box. Laser pointers are prohibited and will be confiscated. Loose hanging items attached to the backpacks such as key chains are prohibited due to safety concerns.
- Make arrangements to have an appropriate person at home at the designated drop-off time after school.
- Sign the blue School Bus Misconduct Notice slip, if your child receives one for an infraction of the bus rules. The child must return the signed slip to the bus driver before allowed back on the bus.
It is the responsibility of each student to:
- Observe classroom conduct while riding the bus. The same rules apply to the bus as in the classroom.
- Ride the assigned bus and use a specific bus stop; only assigned students may ride school-bound or homebound buses. In addition, students may ride only their assigned bus, getting on and getting off at their designated stop. The Director of Transportation may grant permission for students to ride a different bus or use a different stop. Such permission may be granted only after receiving appropriate written request form from the parent/guardian for a specified period of time subject to the following conditions and limitations:
- The requested change must not result in overcrowding of any bus, alteration of any regular bus route, bus stop, or time schedule, or in any way interfere with the regular operation of the transportation system.
- Emergency and/or unusual reasons may be approved by the Director of Transportation.
- To assure no overloads, we do not allow students to bring home friends (either from another bus run or from a non-busing area) for parties, scouts, homework, etc.). It is the parents’ responsibility for this type of transportation.
- Obey the driver at all times and report promptly to school officials when instructed to do so.
- Stay in their seat facing forward while the bus is in motion.
- Keep hands and feet to themselves.
- Place all carry-on items on ones lap.
- State law mandates that no animals or glass containers be allowed on buses. No pets or large items such as large boxes, sleds, skateboards, bats, etc. are allowed on the bus. Items which are sharp or breakable should be carried in a box. Laser pointers are prohibited and will be confiscated. Loose hanging items attached to the backpacks such as key chains are prohibited due to safety concerns.
- Refrain from eating or drinking on the bus.
- Leave the bus only with the consent of the driver.
- Enter or leave the bus only at the front door after the bus has come to a stop, except in case of emergency.
- Stay off the roadway while waiting for the bus.
- Wait until the bus comes to a complete stop and then board or leave the bus promptly.
- Talk in a normal tone of voice while on the bus and use appropriate language.
- Do not destroy property and report any damage observed to the driver.
- Help keep the bus clean, sanitary, orderly and safe.
Tranportation Board Policy
It is the policy of the Board of Education to provide transportation for those District students whose distance from their school makes this service necessary within the limitations established by State law and the regulations of the State Superintendent of Instruction. Such laws and rules shall govern any question not covered by this policy.
Bus routes shall be established so that an authorized bus stop is available within reasonable walking distance of the home of every resident student entitled to transportation services. Each student will be allowed to have one (1) pick-up location and one (1) drop-off location, be it home or a caregiver, and shall not be permitted to use any other bus without prior written permission from the Director of Transportation or designee.
Are bus stops the same every year?
No. While stops are fairly consistent from year to year, changes may be made based on student enrollment.
My child left an item on the bus. How do I get it back?
Items left by students will be held on the bus and may be claimed by the student. If you need the item prior to your student riding the same bus again, please contact the Transportation Department to make pick up arrangements. Any unclaimed items will be placed in a lost and found box located at the Transportation Department. Twice a year all unclaimed items are given to charity.
My student’s bus is crowded and overloaded. How will this be corrected?
It is our goal to fully utilize all the space on all the buses in our fleet. The term “overload” indicates a bus filled beyond its rated capacity. An overloaded bus will be corrected by the fourth Wednesday after Labor Day. Students are assigned three (3) to a seat. We appreciate that this may feel crowded to your student; however, it is not a situation which would necessitate correction.
Why can’t my child have a friend ride home on the bus?
We do not allow students to bring home friends (either from the same bus, another bus run or from a non-busing area) for parties, scouts, church events, homework/study, sleepovers, etc. It is the parent’s responsibility for this type of transportation.
According to the Zeeland Public Schools Board of Education policy, each student will be allowed to have one pick-up location and one drop-off location, five days a week, and shall not be permitted to use any other bus without prior written permission from the Director of Transportation. Transportation to an alternate location must be approved by the Director of Transportation and is for emergency purposes only.
The bus passes my house, why can’t you stop and pick up my student?
We do pass most homes in the District. There are approximately 9,000 students. Each bus stop takes at least 30 seconds; imagine how long it would take to pick up 60 students on one bus, and still get them to school on time. This is why we have group stops.
Why can’t my student bring his large band instrument onto the bus?
It is now a Michigan State law that all instruments must be held by the student. If it cannot fit on the students lap, and be held by the student, we can not transport it.
If my child is absent from school, do I need to notify transportation?
If your child is the only child assigned at a bus stop, or is transported by a special needs bus, the notification would be appreciated.
The following questions were provided by the Michigan Department of Education:
Isn’t the school district required to transport my child?
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.
My child is starting kindergarten. Will the bus pick my child up in front of my house?
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 requirement of MCL 380.1321, Section 55 of the Pupil Transportation Act, and local district policy with regard to the placement of the bus stop.
Is there a law about how far my child has to walk to the bus stop?
No law specifies the maximum distance a student may walk to the bus stop.
What other factors are involved in establishing where the school bus stops?
There are many factors which should be taken into consideration when school administrators establish the placement of school bus stops. The basic legal factors are spelled out in MCL 257.1855, but the primary concern is visibility of the bus to other traffic and the consideration of stopping distances necessary for other motor vehicles in order to accomplish safe loading and unloading of the children. In general, state law requires 400 feet of clear and continuous visibility on a highway or roadway where the speed limit is more than 35 miles per hour, and 200 feet where the speed limit is less than 35 miles per hour. There is no state law which specifies a maximum distance between stops.
What about the safety of my child getting to and from the bus stop? There are no sidewalks where we live and it’s not very safe walking on the busy road we live on.
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.
Is there a law stating that an adult riding on a school bus for monitoring purposes be seated at a specific location on the bus?
There is no law pertaining to this issue. In most cases when adults are assigned to monitor students that are being transported on a bus, they are near the student or students who possess the greatest amount of supervisory need.
My child spends over two (2) hours a day just riding the bus to and from school. Is there a maximum riding time in the law?
There is no maximum riding time in the law for children in kindergarten through grade twelve. Child care licensing regulations establish a maximum riding time of 60 continuous minutes for the transportation of preschool children.
To contact the ZPS Transportation Center, please call 616.748.3425 or email our transportation office staff:
Director of Transportation
Aaron Nienhuis firstname.lastname@example.org
Bonnie Edgerton email@example.com
Linda Sluiter firstname.lastname@example.org
Brenda VanderKooy email@example.com