Ledyard Public Schools Transportation Frequently Asked Questions
The Board of Education has established Policy 3541 as direction for the Superintendent and their designee to follow when providing transportation services. The State of CT publishes general guidelines/recommendations for local school districts to consider but leaves the decisions related to transportation up to the local Board of Education.
Stops are chosen based on a number of factors: Walking distance, safety and how many students that can be picked up in one location. Each stop takes about 3-4 minutes and so clustering assists with keeping total transit time for students as reasonable as possible.
Ledyard contracts with a third party, Student Transportation of America (STA) to provide 95% of our daily student transportation needs. Ledyard also contracts with other providers to transport some students to out of district specialized schools related to the student’s disability.
In order to maximize the use of equipment we currently operate a two tier transportation system that is broken into secondary (7-12) and elementary (K-6) times. Each morning and afternoon LMS and LHS students are transported throughout the town and then the buses transition to serving the next tier, providing transportation to our three elementary schools.
Out of District Schools (Tech and Magnet) operate on varied times and are located in multiple different towns. Students attending those schools are transported to and from a single location in town located at the GFS/JWL/LMS. Parents using transportation to their out of district school are expected to transport students to and from the designated pick-up location. Because of the varied start/dismissal times, locations and attempts to maximize equipment use the same bus may be utilized for an out of district run and an in-district tier.
Due to the geographic layout of Ledyard and neighborhood proximity to our schools there is a limited number of students that are required to walk to school, students may however be expected to walk to a bus stop. The Board Policy sets out the parameters and those are subject to safety reviews depending on various locations.
Established by Ledyard BoE policy, the walking distance for the student to school or to their designated bus stop is set at the following maximum distances:
● For students enrolled in grades kindergarten through third grade, up to one (1) mile.
● For students enrolled in grades four through eight, up to one and one-half (1.5) miles.
● For students enrolled in grades nine through twelve, up to two (2) miles.
When creating the policy it is clearly noted that walking distance is not factored for out of district students. Parents are expected to provide transportation to and from the designated pick-up location.
Ledyard Public Schools is not required to provide transportation for charter schools or magnet school students. Under CGS 10-97, towns are required to provide “reasonable” transportation to Technical High Schools. The local Board of Education has the latitude to define for their towns how transportation will be provided. While the law cites reimbursement at a defined percentage of transportation cost over $800, this reimbursement has not been funded in the State Budget since 2015-2016. The local Board of Education is not required to spend over $6,000 on transportation for a student to attend a Technical School.
Ledyard is provided funding for agreeing to transport students to Magnet Schools. The funding is based on Ledyard’s student enrollment at the school to which transportation is provided. Ledyard receives no funding to transport Tech or Charter students.
While in State Education Law, Ledyard does not receive reimbursement for transportation to Technical Schools. This funding was cut in 2015-2016 and has not been restored in the State Budget.
State Law is a complex topic and can sometimes be less than intuitive. While items may be in a State Law for funding or reimbursement, those funds still need to be appropriated funds through the Biennial budget process. In the case of tech school transportation funding that line was not funded in the last biennial and is not in the latest proposals.
Magnet school transportation funding has continued to be in State appropriations and is in the latest proposals. Ledyard budgets and receives reimbursement on magnet school transportation costs.
Students attending schools out of district are picked up and dropped off at the Gales Ferry/JWL/LMS Campus on RT 12. Times and specific location is published on Ledyard.net and are subject to change. Students wishing to use Ledyard transportation must be registered with Ledyard Public Schools. Board Policy stipulates that walking rules do not apply to out of district students, parents/guardians are required to provide safe means for students to get to and from the bus stop.
Some communities have declined to transport students out of district when not required. Ledyard continues to provide this service. Most districts across the State of CT provide single location pick-up for their out of district students.
There were multiple reasons for consolidating the out of district stops to one hub location at the Campus. First, the campus is set in a location that is close to the routes our buses need to travel to the Out of District schools. The location is close to the bus terminal and reduces travel time and fuel costs. Finally, the Campus is one of the only locations that can handle the additional traffic.
The estimated cost to provide transportation to the Magnet, Charter and Tech schools is $190,000. Ledyard continues to seek reimbursement for Magnet Transportation and is estimated to receive $155,000 in reimbursement. There is currently no State funding for Tech School transportation. Funding for Tech School transportation was cut from the State Budget in 2015-16.