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Bus Frequently Asked Questions

BUS REGISTRATION BEGINS JUNE 12, 2017.  
PLEASE REGISTER STARTING ON JUNE 12, 2017 for 2017-2018 SCHOOL YEAR


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978-692-5560 x2100

1. Who does not have to pay a fee for school bus transportation and who does have to pay a fee for this transportation service? For the 2017-2018 school year, the school department will follow school transportation eligibility criteria of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. All children in grades K-6 who reside more than two miles from the school they are entitled to attend, are eligible for transportation services which will be paid for by the Westford Public Schools. Children in grades K-6 who live two miles or less from the school that they attend, and all students in grades 7-12 will have to pay a fee to ride the school bus to and from school.


2. If I do not have to pay a fee for my child/children to ride the school bus to and from school, must I register online?
Yes, an online registration form is needed for any child/children who will be riding the bus, whether it is fee-based or not. This registration form will allow us to provide your child/children with a bus pass, which is needed to ride a bus to and from school. You must register for a bus pass online, regardless of whether or not you have to pay a fee.  Please refer to the instructions on our Transportation home page.


3. How is the two mile distance determined for children in grades K-6?
The two mile distance from a child’s school is measured by using the shortest route over a public way from the pupil’s residence, as measured from the end of the residence driveway to the closest main entrance driveway of the child’s school of attendance.


4. How will the two mile distance be accurately measured from the schools?
We will utilize two approaches to establish the two mile limit around each elementary and middle school (the two mile calculation at the middle school level is only applicable to grade 6). First, we will use GIS software to establish the two mile limit; secondly we will conduct actual mileage checks from the driveway of each respective school to the point on the most commonly traveled public way until we reach two miles. Specific street addresses, telephone pole numbers and any other distinguishing geographical characteristic will be used to carefully note the two mile limit from each school.

5. Will bus passes be issued to all students who will be transported (fee-based and eligible)?
Yes, bus passes will be issuedto fee-based students after the online registration form has been completed and full payment has been received.  Passes will be issued to students who do not have to pay the fee after the online registration form has been completed. Every student who plans to ride the bus must register for a bus pass whether it is a fee or not. Students will not be able to ride the bus without a pass. If a bus pass is lost during the school year a $10.00 replacement fee will be charged for every new bus pass that is required. Bus passes will contain the student photo taken in school for the 2016-2017 year.  

6. Where do the photos for the bus pass come from?
Bus passes will be created using the photos from the 2016-2017 school year photos.
Students who are new to Westford, who did not have a school photo taken here last year,  AND children who will be starting kindergarten in the Fall of 2017, have two options for pictures:Bus Pass Photos > > > >

7. Will there be a family cap on fees for transportation?
Yes, the family cap will be $600. If you have one student requiring a fee, it is $225; two students requiring a fee, $450. For three students or more who require a fee, the family cap will be $600.


8. I have a financial hardship.  What criteria will be used to determine a reduced or waived fee?
If your child received a free or reduced priced lunch in the 2016-2017 school year, there will be no charge for transportation. However, you must still submit a completed Transportation Registration Form to receive a bus pass, select "I wish to pay by check." then, Please contact Nancy Hill  ( nhill@westfordk12.us ) in the School Dept Business Office to notify us of the registration and the request to Waive Bus Fee" we will then complete the process and email you back.  Financial information>>>>>


9. What method of payment can I use to pay my child/children’s bus fee?
On the school department’s transportation web site there is a link for parents wishing to pay the school bus fee via credit card. You may also pay by check, with the check made payable to the Westford Public Schools. Payments made by check and mailed in MUST be accompanied by a receipt or confirmation of registration. Please write the REGISTRATION number on the memo line of your check.  If paying by credit card, registration is part of that online process.  Additional bank fees will be charged when paying by credit card.  This fee will be $11.00 for every bus registration with a maximum fee of $33.00.

10. Will the bus routes and bus stops remain the same?
Some of the bus routes will be similar, if not the same, as in previous years.  The location of bus stops, particularly for students who must pay a fee for transportation service, are dependent upon how many students pay the fee and their location. Early payment of transportation fees will expedite the process of establishing bus routes and stops.


11. May a student ride a bus other than the one he/she is assigned to?
Students should ride their regular bus home. Written permission from the parent or guardian is required for a change in the regular bus schedule. In this case, parents should include the bus number in their written permission. Space must be available on the bus before a bus change is approved.  Please call Dee Bus Company at 978-392-8639 to check if there is available space on the bus.


12. Instead of paying a school bus fee, I will choose to transport my child to his/her school. Suppose my child is invited to a birthday party at his/her friend’s house after school, can my child ride home with that friend on the school bus?
No, if you choose not to pay a fee for your child to be transported, you are responsible for transporting your child to the friend’s house.


13. What if my child only needs to be transported to school in the morning, or only needs to be transported from school in the afternoon, do I still have to pay the full fee?
There is no pro-rated fee based on the need for only one-way transportation. You will need to pay the full fee.


14. What if my child only needs to be transported to school by the bus two or three days a week, do I still have to pay the full fee?
There is no pro-rated bus fee. You will need to pay the full fee, we cannot plan bus routes and bus stops based on inconsistent ridership.


15. Must my child carry the bus pass every day?
Yes, every student must have his/her bus pass each day. We recommend that this pass be attached to a backpack or article of clothing so they are quickly available and observable by the school bus driver.


16. If I must pay a fee for my children to be transported may I pay this fee in installments?
No, transportation fees must be paid in full at the time of application for transportation service. Online credit card payment and registration is offered. Note: there is a credit card fee in addition to the bus fee. These fees are listed on the registration payment page. This credit card fee goes directly to the processor and the bank and does not go to the school department.


17. Will bus passes be checked?
Students must present a bus pass to board the bus going to school and to board the bus coming home from school. Abuse of the bus pass system will result in forfeiture of transportation privileges and fees. Criteria for bus discipline and safety, as outlined in the student handbooks, will be in effect whether someone pays a fee or not.

18. What if I do not have access to a computer?
There will be a computer available Monday-Friday, 9 AM-3 PM for you to use to complete your registration at our Administrative Office at 23 Depot Street (located behind the Abbot Elementary School).

19. What if the bus pass is lost?
Contact your school office for a short-term temporary pass.  A replacement bus pass will be issued for any lost passes.  A $10 fee will be charged for this service.  Please email or call Central Office at 978-692-5560 x2100 to get your replacement pass.  If you call or email, you must provide the following information: child's name, current school, current grade, your contact info and address.
NO TEMPORARY PASS will be issued to meet short term requests due to family situations or to seek bus transportation during inclement weather.

20. What if I didn't register until after school begins?
After the first day of school, if you have not yet purchased a bus pass, please call Dee Bus at 978-392-8639 to confirm that there is space available on the bus assigned to your child.  You will need to provide your address, and the name of the child's school. If space is available on the appropriate bus, you will then be required to register online for a bus pass.  Call Central Office - 978-692-5560 x2100  to arrange bus pass pickup or email bus@westfordk12.us
21. If my child is Open-Enrolled to a school other than my home district, is he/she eligivle for transportation?
No. Under the school department's Open Enrollment Policy, parents are responsible for their child's transportation to and from the school to which they are open enrolled.


22. I live within 2 miles of my child's school, but the day care center, at which he/she is picked up and dropped off at is within our school district, but more than 2 miles from the school. Do I have to pay a fee for transportation?
Yes, the distance criteria that determines whether or not you pay a transportation fee is based on your residence.


23. If my child has a bus pass, can he/she be transported to a day care center which is not in his/her school district?
No, a child care center must be located within your child's school district.


24. For early release days, either for staff professional development, or inclement weather, will children who do not have a bus pass be transported home?
No, transportation services will only be available for children who have a bus pass. A parent or legal guardian will have to pick up his/her child (who does not have a bus pass) shortly after the early release time.


25. My child has a special needs educational plan which specifies that he/she needs to be transported to school via a special education van; Do I have to pay a transportation fee?
No, the law does not permit school systems to charge a fee for transporting special needs students, via a van, when it is prescribed in a child's educational plan.


26. Is there a prorated/adjusted fee for a registration done AFTER the beginning of the school year?
No, there is no pro-rated bus fee throughout the school year.