Frequently Asked Questions

  • Who provides transportation for ISD 728 students?

    ISD 728 contracts with Vision of Elk River, Inc. (“Vision Transportation”) to provide transportation to area students. The mission of ISD 728 and Vision Transportation is to support the education process by transporting students safely, securely, reliably and in a timely manner to and from school and school events. Our goal is to operate safe, dependable and cost-effective transportation services for our students. We want the student’s ride to be part of a positive educational experience. 

    How will I know which bus my student takes? 

    Parents/guardians of students attending District 728 schools receive an email around the third week of August each year directing them to the District’s Parent Portal at www.isd728.org/parentportal for bus stop locations, bus numbers and route times for the school their student attends. Occasionally, busing information may need to be adjusted after this initial contact, therefore parents are encouraged to verify this information before the first day of school. Please refer to Busing Guidelines for daycare or alternative pick up and/or drop off locations.

    If your student is attending a charter or private school, you will receive a postcard mailing with your information. 

    When and how will I be notified of busing changes?

    In the case of minor transportation adjustments to bus stops, routes and pick-up or drop-off times during the school year, Vision Transportation will notify parents who are impacted through a written message from the driver or by phone and/or email.

    How are busing delays communicated?

    Understand that bus pick-up and drop-off times are based on good weather and ideal road conditions. Traffic congestion, road construction, and inclement weather may cause delays in pick-up and drop-off times. In the event the bus will be significantly delayed, Vision Transportation will send parent notifications to the primary contact listed in the District’s Parent Portal using an automated system.  To view and/or update your current contact information and preferences visit www.isd728.org/parentportal for details.  

    What is the maximum length of time for a bus route? 

    Every attempt is made to limit student ride times to less than 75 minutes one way for students living within District boundary and attendance areas. 

    Why do some students have to cross the street to board the bus?

    Vision Transportation is not able to route buses so that all students can wait for the bus on the door side. We recommend that students wait on the side of the street that they reside. The bus will activate warning lights and a stop arm to alert traffic in order to accommodate students that need to cross the street to board the bus.

    Can my student ride home with a friend?

    No. For their safety, students can only ride their assigned bus. Drivers are not allowed to accept notes from students or parents. 

    Why do some buses look empty?

    Vision Transportation makes every effort to fully maximize bus capacities. On occasion, buses may not be fully utilized due to the nature of the transportation. Special Education transportation and some school schedules prevent fully utilized buses due to distances, timing, and program needs. 
     

    The bus seems very full.  Why are there so many students on this route?

    A standard bus is rated for 77 elementary students and Vision Transportation aims to load buses to 95% of the appropriate-rated capacity whenever possible. Elementary students (K-5) are expected to sit 3 to a seat and secondary students (6-12) are expected to sit 2 to a seat. Stated differently, Vision Transportation can have 73 students on an elementary route and 50 students on a secondary route and maintain proper capacity.

    What should I do if the bus doesn’t show up? 

    Student pick-up and drop-off times should remain fairly consistent after the first two weeks of school. Circumstances beyond control could make the bus late occasionally. Vehicle breakdowns, impassable roads, emergencies or drivers becoming ill are just a few reasons that could make the bus late. If the wait is longer than fifteen minutes, please contact Vision Transportation. Every effort will be made to ensure a bus will be at your stop.

    Can my student still ride the bus if my daycare is across district lines or outside of the assigned school boundary?

    Transportation across district lines or outside of assigned school boundaries is generally not permitted. Route timing, distances, and bus capacities make it impossible to accommodate this type of request. The parent, guardian, or daycare provider would be responsible for transportation arrangements. 

    What’s allowed on a bus?

    On occasion questions arise about what can be brought onto the school bus. Students may bring items such as musical instruments that can be held on a students lap or between their legs during the bus ride. Toys may be carried on the bus if they are kept in a student’s backpack, but can not be used during the ride to or from school. Some objects are never allowed on the bus, including:  

    • Weapons
    • Flammable materials
    • Live animals or insects
    • Glass items
    • Large recreational items
    • Any items of dangerous or objectionable nature determined by the District.

    The goal is for students to have a safe and respectful ride to and from school. 

    What do I need to do so my student will have a successful bus ride to/from school? 

    • Arrange for your student to be at their bus stop five minutes before the scheduled pick-up time. 
    • Monitor students from damaging the property of others at the bus stop. 
    • Be aware that the bus will pick up and drop off students at the same stop every day school is in session. 
    • Help your student learn their route numbers and appropriate paths to/from the bust stop to home. 
    • Review the bus safety rules outlined in the Bus Safety information with your student. 
    • Accompany younger riders to the bus stop and meet the bus at the end of the day for the first days of
      school, or arrange for an older student or child care provider to be at the bus stop for the first days of
      school. 

    What determines a bus stop?

    The goal is to consistently identify bus stops in neighborhoods based on safety, efficiency, least cost, and shortest overall ride times.  Bus stops are central to where all of the students are coming from. Some house stops are made on very busy roads. Generally, Vision Transportation does not send buses into cul-de-sacs or dead-end roads because of lack of safe access or the ability of the bus to turn around. 

    Under what conditions is consideration given to adjusting bus stop locations? 

    Roads and streets sometimes intersect on areas of road that cause concern for school bus transportation and other drivers. Vision Transportation makes every effort to select safe places to load and unload students given these varying factors of roads, streets, traffic speed and locations of residences. Adjustments to bus stops may be made when a safer alternative is available.

    Can I just tell the bus driver where my student should be picked up or dropped off?

    School bus drivers do not have the authority to change bus routes or student pick up/drop off locations.  Vision Transportation, the school district’s transportation contractor, is the only authority that can make changes to bus routes and stops. If it is believed that the current bus stop is unsafe and/or does not fit the bus stop criteria set forth by the District, please refer to the Route Change Request process outlined in Busing Guidelines

    The bus drives right past my house. Why can’t it stop at my house?

    The higher frequency of stops made by the bus increases the dangers for an accident because of impatient motorists. This may result in drivers driving around the bus and causes greater safety concerns than the distance a student has to walk to the bus stop. It also delays the bus by increasing the number of stops, making overall student ride time longer. By law, school buses must also have at least one to three hundred feet between stops (determined by a road’s speed limit). Increasing the number of stops also makes the student ride time longer.  

    Why can I not see the bus stop from my house?

    The District provides transportation for nearly 10,000 students to and from school each day with bus stops positioned based on efficiency, least cost, and shortest overall ride times. The District is not able to position bus stops so that all parents or daycare providers are able to see the bus stop from their home. 

    I own a daycare and need the bus to stop at my house. Why can’t the bus stop be located at my house?

    As noted above, bus stops are centrally located. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the daycare provider to get the student to the bus stop. 

    I have young children at home and/or I leave home because of work.

    In order to be consistent and fair in placement of bus stops, the District is not able to establish stops based on personal circumstances. 

    Will the bus drive into a cul-de-sac or down a dead-end street? 

    Except to transport special education students, buses are generally not routed down cul-de-sacs because of the danger to small children and property caused by the bus turning around and/or backing up in a small area. However, elementary school buses are routed down cul-de-sacs which are a quarter mile long or longer, and middle school and high school buses are routed down cul-de-sacs which are half mile or longer, provided there’s a safe area for the bus to turn around.

    What can I expect at the bus stop for my student?

    Generally, up to 25 students are assigned to a bus stop. This number may be exceeded at cul-de-sacs, high-density housing areas and high school stops because students are not standing on through streets and/or they are older. 

    Bus stops are placed at locations that meet defined criteria, are centrally located, and within reasonable walking distances from the student’s home. Generally, bus stops are located at least three blocks away from each other, are centrally located, and not typically within the line of sight of each student’s home or daycare. 

    My student is the only student using the bus stop. Can the stop be moved closer to our home? 

    Generally, bus stops are centrally located for all students. Bus stops are not changed to accommodate one or more students because that may displace other students further from their home. Even though other students living along the route may not be riding the bus, bus stops must remain consistent as they have been published. A central bus stop is necessary because other students may begin riding the bus or new families may move into the neighborhood. It is the responsibility of the parent/guardian to ensure that his/her student arrives safely at the bus stop.

    My student was riding the bus and then stopped and now needs to ride again. Why isn’t the bus stopping?

    If a bus stop is inactive for a period of 15 school days, it will be eliminated from the route. Students at that bus stop will be considered non-riders. If/when a student will need to begin to ride again, complete the Transportation Form and submit it to Vision Transportation. Please allow 5 days for the request to take effect.
     

    My student is a Special Education student.  Who do I contact to arrange transportation?

    Please contact the Special Education Supervisor assigned to your student’s school building. A complete list of Supervisors can be found on the District website.