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Budget Bill Transportation: What You Need to Know

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This is Part 3 in a Series of Legal Updates the Education Law Group will be providing on House Bill 33…

House Bill 33, the “budget bill,” brought about various changes to school transportation requirements.  Most of the changes are intended to promote compliance with transportation standards or to facilitate transportation to nonpublic and community schools.

Compliance Standards & Enforcement

  • A school district will be “out of compliance” if for five (5) consecutive school days or 10 school days within a school year, at least one of the following has occurred (excluding occurrences due to inclement weather):
    • A bus is more than 30 minutes late to drop-off students at school;
    • A bus is more than 30 minutes late to pick-up students at the end of the school day;
    • Students scheduled for bus transportation to and from school are not transported by the school bus at all due to the bus not arriving; or
    • A school district has been noncompliant with any other transportation requirements under Chapter 3327 of the Revised Code.
  • If the Department of Education and Workforce (DEW) finds a district out of compliance, the district must create a corrective action plan and submit it to the DEW within one (1) week.
  • If a district is found to be out of compliance a second time, the DEW will withhold 25% of the district’s daily payment for transportation for each day of non-compliance, beginning with the first day after the district submitted its corrective action plan.
  • If a district is found to be out of compliance five (5) times within the same school year, it will have 100% of its daily payment for transportation withheld until the DEW finds that the district is no longer out of compliance.
  • For each day the district is found to be out of compliance, the DEW will calculate the daily amount of that payment on a per-pupil basis and disburse that per-pupil amount to the district or school in which the pupil is enrolled. The district or school must then forward those funds to the parent/guardian of each pupil who did not receive proper transportation while the district was out of compliance.

New Option for Bus Driver Retention 

  • The DEW will develop a “Bus Driver Flex Career Path Model,” which is a pathway for bus drivers to also work as educational aides or student monitors.
  • The model will ensure bus drivers can work an 8-to-10-hour shift per day with the employing school district by doing either a morning or afternoon bus route and spending the remainder of the workday in the other (as an educational aide or student monitor) capacity.

Smaller Vehicle for Community and Nonpublic Schools

  • School districts as well as community and chartered nonpublic schools can use a vehicle designated to carry nine (9) passengers or less instead of a school bus for the transportation of students to community schools and chartered nonpublic schools.
  • The vehicle must still meet all other legal requirements for school transportation.

Pilot Program to Involve ESC’s

  • A new pilot program with Franklin County and Montgomery County ESCs will have the ESCs manage student transportation for community schools, STEM schools, and chartered nonpublic schools.
    • The program will last for the 2024-2025 school year.

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    Weston Hurd LLP attorneys regularly assist school districts in all aspects of school law. For further information please contact Peter Zawadski at pzawadsk@westonhurd.com or any of the education law attorneys.