subch. IV of ch. 121 SUBCHAPTER IV
TRANSPORTATION AID
121.51 121.51 Definitions. In this subchapter:
121.51(1) (1)“Attendance area" is the geographic area designated by the governing body of a private school as the area from which its pupils attend and approved by the school board of the district in which the private school is located. If the private school and the school board cannot agree on the attendance area, the state superintendent shall, upon the request of the private school and the board, make a final determination of the attendance area. The attendance areas of private schools affiliated with the same religious denomination shall not overlap unless one school limits its enrollment to pupils of the same sex and the other school limits its enrollment to pupils of the opposite sex or admits pupils of both sexes.
121.51(3) (3)“School board" has the meaning designated in s. 115.001 (7) and includes any governmental agency transporting children to and from public schools.
121.51(4) (4)“School bus" has the meaning designated in s. 340.01 (56).
121.51 Annotation The provision for the transportation, at public expense, of students to and from private schools on an attendance area basis is constitutional. Vanko v. Kahl, 52 Wis. 2d 206, 188 N.W.2d 460 (1971).
121.51 Annotation For purposes of sub. (4) [now sub. (1)], and in the absence of fraud or collusion, when a religious school demonstrates by its corporate charter and bylaws that it is independent of, and unaffiliated with, a religious denomination, further inquiry by the state would violate Art. I, sec. 18. Holy Trinity Community School, Inc. v. Kahl, 82 Wis. 2d 139, 262 N.W.2d 210 (1978).
121.51 Annotation First amendment-based attacks on Wisconsin “attendance area" statutes. 1980 WLR 409.
121.52 121.52 Vehicle, operator and driver requirements.
121.52(1)(1)
121.52(1)(a) (a) Rules governing the design, construction, inspection and operation of school buses adopted by the secretary of transportation under s. 110.06 (2) shall by reference be made part of any contract for the transportation of pupils.
121.52(1)(b) (b) The school board may adopt additional rules, not inconsistent with law or with rules of the secretary of transportation or the state superintendent, for the protection of the pupils or to govern the conduct of the person in charge of the motor vehicle used for transportation of pupils for compensation.
121.52(2) (2)
121.52(2)(a)(a) All drivers of motor vehicles owned by the school district and used for the transportation of pupils shall be under written contract with the school board of the district.
121.52(2)(b) (b) The owner or lessee of all privately owned motor vehicles transporting pupils for compensation shall be under written contract with the school board of the district for which such transportation is provided. The contract shall require the owner or lessee to perform any action necessary for the owner or lessee or the school board to fulfill any obligation specified in sub. (5) or s. 121.555.
121.52(2)(c) (c) The form of contract shall be prescribed by the department and shall provide that all parties to the contract are subject at all times to rules adopted by the secretary of transportation under s. 110.06 (2) and by the department.
121.52(3) (3)
121.52(3)(a)(a) If the contract is made under sub. (2) (b), the contract shall provide that the owner or lessee require his or her bus drivers, as a condition of employment, to take a physical examination, including a chest X-ray or tuberculin test, and to submit the physical examination report to the school board. If the reaction to the tuberculin test is positive, a chest X-ray shall be required. Freedom from tuberculosis in a communicable form is a condition of employment as a bus driver. Additional physical examinations shall be required thereafter at intervals determined by the school board.
121.52(3)(b) (b) The contract shall provide that a physical examination report may be submitted on forms prescribed by the federal authority regulating motor carriers or the department and that a copy of a physical examination report obtained for other purposes within one year of the date of the contract may be substituted for the examination, if the report contains substantially the same information required by the department.
121.52(3)(c) (c) Such physical examinations, chest X-rays or tuberculin tests shall not be required of a bus driver who files with the school board an affidavit setting forth that the bus driver depends exclusively upon prayer or spiritual means for healing in accordance with the teachings of a bona fide religious sect, denomination or organization and that the bus driver is to the best of the bus driver's knowledge and belief in good health and that the bus driver claims exemption from health examination on these grounds. Notwithstanding the filing of such affidavit, if there is reasonable cause to believe that the bus driver is suffering from an illness detrimental to the health of the pupils, the school board may require a health examination of the bus driver sufficient to indicate whether or not the bus driver is suffering from such an illness. No bus driver may be discriminated against by reason of filing such affidavit.
121.52(4) (4)The use of any motor vehicle to transport pupils shall be discontinued upon receipt of an order signed by the state superintendent or the secretary of transportation ordering such discontinuance. Personnel under the state superintendent or the secretary of transportation may ride any school bus at any time for the purpose of inspection.
121.52(5) (5)Upon written request of a parent or guardian of a pupil for whom the school district provides transportation, the school board shall disclose the name of each driver who transports the pupil under sub. (2) (a) or (b).
121.52 Annotation Sub. (1) (b) is permissive. It neither governs driver conduct nor requires school districts to adopt rules to that end. It merely allows districts to do so. Reuter v. Murphy, 2000 WI App 276, 240 Wis. 2d 110, 622 N.W.2d 464, 99-3349.
121.53 121.53 School bus insurance.
121.53(1)(1)No motor vehicle may be used as a school bus unless a policy of bodily injury and property damage liability insurance, issued by an insurer authorized to transact business in this state, is maintained thereon. The policy shall provide property damage liability coverage with a limit of not less than $10,000. The policy also shall provide bodily injury liability coverage with limits of not less than $75,000 for each person and, subject to such limit for each person, total limits as follows:
121.53(1)(a) (a) $150,000 for each accident for each such motor vehicle having a seating capacity of 7 passengers or less.
121.53(1)(b) (b) $200,000 for each accident for each such motor vehicle having a seating capacity of 8 to 15 passengers.
121.53(1)(c) (c) $250,000 for each accident for each such motor vehicle having a seating capacity of 16 to 24 passengers.
121.53(1)(d) (d) $375,000 for each accident for each such motor vehicle having a seating capacity of 25 to 36 passengers.
121.53(1)(e) (e) $1,000,000 for each accident for each such motor vehicle having a seating capacity of 37 or more passengers.
121.53(2) (2)The policy under this section shall cover the transportation of pupils, their parents or guardians, authorized chaperones, school district officers, faculty and employees and school doctors, dentists and nurses:
121.53(2)(a) (a) To and from the school or school district which operates the school bus or contracts for its operation.
121.53(2)(b) (b) In connection with any extracurricular school activity authorized by and made in compliance with s. 121.54 (7).
121.53(3) (3)An insurer issuing a policy under this section may exclude coverage for public or livery use of the school bus, but any such exclusion does not apply:
121.53(3)(a) (a) When the school bus, while regularly used as such, also is used to transport pupils of another public or private school, whether or not a charge is made for such transportation.
121.53(3)(b) (b) When used in accordance with sub. (2), whether or not any person lawfully transported is required to pay a charge therefor.
121.53(3)(c) (c) When the school bus is used as specified in s. 340.01 (56) (am) for the purpose of transporting seniors or individuals with disabilities in connection with a transportation assistance program for such persons.
121.53(4) (4)Every school board shall require that there be filed with it and with the department of transportation a certificate of insurance showing that an insurance policy has been procured and is in effect which covers the owner and operator of the school bus and the school board or shall procure an insurance policy and file such certificate with the department of transportation. Unless such certificate is on file with the department of transportation, no registration plates for a school bus may be issued by the department of transportation. No such policy may be terminated prior to its expiration or canceled for any reason, unless a notice thereof is filed with the department of transportation and with the school board by the insurer at least 10 days prior to the date of termination or cancellation. The department of transportation shall revoke the registration of a school bus on which the policy has been terminated or canceled, effective on the date of termination or cancellation.
121.53(5) (5)Subsections (1) to (4) do not apply to:
121.53(5)(a) (a) A motor vehicle owned or operated by a parent or guardian transporting only the parent's or guardian's own children, whether or not any contract is made with or compensation paid to the parent or guardian for such transportation by a school board.
121.53(5)(b) (b) A motor vehicle operated by a common carrier certificated under ch. 194, where such motor vehicle is used under contract pursuant to this subchapter, if the common carrier has complied with s. 194.41 or 194.42.
121.53(5)(c) (c) A taxicab regulated by a municipal ordinance under s. 349.24 when used to transport pupils.
121.53(6) (6)Within 10 days after its occurrence, every accident involving a motor vehicle while providing transportation under this subchapter shall be reported to the appropriate school board.
121.54 121.54 Transportation by school districts.
121.54(1)(1)City option.
121.54(1)(a)(a) Subsections (2) and (6) and s. 121.57 do not apply to pupils who reside in a school district that contains all or part of a city unless the school they attend is located outside the city but within the boundaries of the school district.
121.54(1)(b) (b) If a school district elects under sub. (2) (c) to provide transportation for the pupils under par. (a), state aid shall be paid in accordance with s. 121.58, and there shall be reasonable uniformity in the transportation furnished to the pupils, whether they attend public or private schools.
121.54(1)(c) (c) Paragraph (a) does not apply to pupils who reside in a school district that contains all or part of a 1st, 2nd or 3rd class city with a population exceeding 40,000 unless transportation for the pupils is available through a common carrier of passengers operating under s. 85.20 or ch. 194.
121.54(2) (2) General transportation.
121.54(2)(a) (a) Except as provided in sub. (1), every school board shall provide transportation to and from public school for all pupils who reside in the school district 2 miles or more from the nearest public school they are entitled to attend.
121.54(2)(am) (am) In lieu of transporting a pupil who is eligible for transportation under par. (a) to and from his or her residence, a school district may transport the pupil to or from, or both, a before- and after-school child care program under s. 120.125, a child care program under s. 120.13 (14), or any other child care program, family child care home, or child care provider.
121.54(2)(b)1.1. Except as provided in sub. (1) or otherwise provided in this subsection, the school board of each district operating high school grades shall provide transportation to and from the school a pupil attends for each pupil residing in the school district who attends any elementary grade, including kindergarten, or high school grade at a private school located 2 miles or more from the pupil's residence, if such private school is a school within whose attendance area the pupil resides and is situated within the school district or not more than 5 miles beyond the boundaries of the school district measured along the usually traveled route.
121.54(2)(b)2. 2. In lieu of transporting students under subd. 1. and paying for transportation under sub. (8) (b), an underlying elementary school district of a union high school district may elect, by resolution adopted at its annual or special meeting, to transport elementary school children who reside within the underlying district and qualify for transportation under subd. 1., in vehicles owned, operated or contracted for by the district. Once adopted, such a resolution may be repealed only upon one year's notice to the board of the union high school district of which the underlying district is a part. An elementary school district shall notify the union high school district of any action under this paragraph no later than June 15 preceding the school year in which the elementary school district's action takes effect.
121.54(2)(b)3. 3. Annually by April 1, each private school shall submit its proposed attendance area for the ensuing school year to the school board of each school district having territory within the proposed attendance area. If a proposal is not submitted by April 1, the existing attendance area shall remain in effect for the ensuing school year.
121.54(2)(b)4. 4. No later than May 15 in each year, each private school shall notify each school board of the names, grade levels and locations of all pupils, if any, eligible to have transportation provided by such school board under this paragraph and planning to attend such private school during the forthcoming school term. The school board may extend the notification deadline.
121.54 Cross-reference Cross-reference: See also s. PI 35.06, Wis. adm. code.
121.54(2)(c) (c) An annual or special meeting of a common or union high school district, or the school board of a unified school district, may elect to provide transportation for pupils who are not required to be transported under this section, including pupils attending public school under s. 118.145 (4) or 118.53. Transportation may be provided for all or some of the pupils who reside in the school district to and from the public school they are entitled to attend or the private school, within or outside the school district, within whose attendance area they reside. If transportation is provided for less than all such pupils there shall be reasonable uniformity in the minimum distance that pupils attending public and private schools will be transported. Except for elementary school districts electing to furnish transportation under par. (b) 2., this paragraph does not permit a school district operating only elementary grades to provide transportation for pupils attending private schools.
121.54(2)(d) (d) A school board may provide transportation for teachers to and from public school, subject to the same controls and limitations as apply to the transportation of pupils.
121.54(2)(e) (e) Notwithstanding par. (a), if a pupil is living outside the school district in which he or she is enrolled because the pupil's parents or guardians have joint legal custody, as defined in s. 767.001 (1s), of the pupil, upon the request of the pupil's parent or guardian the school district shall transport the pupil to and from an agreed-upon location within the school district.
121.54(3) (3) Transportation for children with disabilities. Every school board shall provide transportation for children with disabilities, as defined in s. 115.76 (5), to any public or private elementary or high school, to the school operated by the Wisconsin Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired or the school operated by the Wisconsin Educational Services Program for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing or to any special education program for children with disabilities sponsored by a state tax-supported institution of higher education, including a technical college, regardless of distance, if the request for such transportation is approved by the state superintendent. Approval shall be based on whether or not the child can walk to school with safety and comfort. Section 121.53 shall apply to transportation provided under this subsection.
121.54(4) (4) Summer class transportation. A school board may provide transportation for pupils residing in the school district and attending summer classes. If the school board provides transportation for less than all pupils, there shall be reasonable uniformity in the minimum and maximum distances pupils are transported.
121.54(5) (5) Transportation to technical colleges. The school board of a district operating high school grades may provide for the transportation or board and lodging of residents of the school district attending technical colleges outside the school district who are not high school graduates, are less than 20 years of age and attend such colleges full time. The school board of such a district may also provide transportation for residents of the district participating in vocational education programs organized cooperatively between school districts under s. 66.0301. The school district shall be paid state aid for such transportation or board and lodging in accordance with s. 121.58. This subsection does not apply if the distance between a pupil's home and the technical college along the usually traveled public highway is more than 15 miles, unless the pupil resides on an approved bus route or board and lodging are provided.
121.54(6) (6) Transportation in special cases. The school board of a district operating high school grades which, under s. 121.78 (2) (a), must permit a pupil to attend high school outside the school district shall provide transportation for such pupil if the pupil resides 2 or more miles from the high school that the pupil attends.
121.54(7) (7) Transportation for extracurricular activities.
121.54(7)(a) (a) A school board may provide transportation for pupils attending public or private schools, their parents or guardians, authorized chaperones, school officers, faculty and employees and school doctors, dentists and nurses in connection with any extracurricular activity of the public or private school, such as a school athletic contest, school game, after school practice, late activity, school outing or school field trip or any other similar trip when:
121.54(7)(a)1. 1. A school bus or motor bus or a motor vehicle under s. 121.555 (1) (a) is used and such transportation is under the immediate supervision of a competent adult.
121.54(7)(a)2. 2. A school operated by the school district or the private school has an actual interest in the safety and welfare of the children transported to the activity;
121.54(7)(a)4. 4. The school principal or other person with comparable authority authorizes such use.
121.54(7)(b)1.1. If transportation is provided to pupils and other persons in connection with any extracurricular activity of a public school under par. (a), the school board may make a charge for such transportation, to be paid by the persons transported, sufficient to reimburse it for the cost of providing the transportation. If transportation is provided to pupils and other persons in connection with any extracurricular activity of a private school under par. (a), the school board shall make a charge for such transportation, to be paid by the private school or the persons transported, sufficient to reimburse it for the cost of providing the transportation.
121.54(7)(b)2. 2. The school board may contract under s. 121.52 (2) (b) for transportation authorized under par. (a) for pupils attending public schools. The school board may authorize a charge for the transportation, to be paid by the persons transported, sufficient to make reimbursement for the cost of providing the transportation.
121.54(8) (8) Payment of transportation costs.
121.54(8)(a) (a) The cost of providing transportation for pupils under subs. (1) to (6) and s. 121.57 shall be paid by the school district in which they reside, and no part of such cost may be charged to the pupils or their parents or guardians.
121.54(8)(b) (b) At the end of the school term, every union high school district shall submit to each of its underlying school districts operating only elementary grades a certified statement of the actual cost for the school year, less the amount to be paid for such pupils for that school year under s. 121.58 (2), of transporting the private school pupils residing in the underlying school district under sub. (2) (b). On or before June 30 in each year each underlying school district shall reimburse the union high school district for the net cost of transporting its resident private school pupils as so reported in the statement.
121.54(9) (9) Transportation in areas of unusual hazards.
121.54(9)(a) (a) In school districts in which unusual hazards exist for pupils in walking to and from the school where they are enrolled, the school board shall develop a plan which shall show by map and explanation the nature of the unusual hazards to pupil travel and propose a plan of transportation if such transportation is necessary, which will provide proper safeguards for the school attendance of such pupils. Copies of the plan shall be filed with the sheriff of the county in which the principal office of the school district is located. The sheriff shall review the plan and may make suggestions for revision deemed appropriate. The sheriff shall investigate the site and plan and make a determination as to whether unusual hazards exist which cannot be corrected by local government and shall report the findings in writing to the state superintendent and the school board concerned. Within 60, but not less than 30, days from the day on which the state superintendent receives the sheriff's report, the state superintendent shall determine whether unusual hazards to pupil travel exist and whether the plan provides proper safeguards for such pupils. If the state superintendent makes findings which support the plan and the determination that unusual hazards exist which seriously jeopardize the safety of the pupils in their travel to and from school, the school board shall put the plan into effect and state aid shall be paid under s. 121.58 (2) (c) for any transportation of pupils under this subsection. Any city, village or town may reimburse, in whole or in part, a school district for costs incurred in providing transportation under this subsection for pupils who reside in the city, village or town.
121.54(9)(am) (am) Any person aggrieved by the failure of a school board to file a plan with the sheriff as provided in par. (a) may notify the school board in writing that an area of unusual hazard exists. The school board shall reply to the aggrieved person in writing within 30 days of receipt of the aggrieved person's notice. The school board shall send a copy of the board's reply to the sheriff of the county in which the principal office of the school district is located and to the state superintendent. Upon receipt of the school board's reply, the aggrieved person may request a hearing before the state superintendent for a determination as to whether an area of unusual hazard exists. If the state superintendent determines that an area of unusual hazard exists, the state superintendent shall direct the school board to proceed as provided in par. (a).
121.54(9)(b) (b) Within 30 days after the sheriff's report is received by the state superintendent, any aggrieved person may request a hearing before the state superintendent on the determination by the sheriff and on the plan. After such hearing, the state superintendent shall proceed as provided in par. (a).
121.54(9)(c) (c) The state superintendent and the department of transportation shall establish a definition of “unusual hazards" and “area of unusual hazards" for the implementation of this subsection. Such definition shall be promulgated, as a rule, by the state superintendent.
121.54 Cross-reference Cross-reference: See also ch. PI 7, Wis. adm. code.
121.54(10) (10) Attendance in nonresident school district. Subject to s. 118.51 (14) (a) 2., a school board may elect to provide transportation, including transportation to and from summer classes, for nonresident pupils who are attending public school in the school district under s. 118.51 or 121.84 (4), or its resident pupils who are attending public school in another school district under s. 118.51 or 121.84 (4), or both, except that a school board may not provide transportation under this subsection for a nonresident pupil to or from a location within the boundaries of the school district in which the pupil resides unless the school board of that school district approves.
121.54 Annotation Section 121.51 (4) [now s. 121.51 (1)] and sub. (2) (b) 1., as enacted in 1969, are constitutional. Vanko v. Kahl, 52 Wis. 2d 206, 188 N.W.2d 460 (1971).
121.54 Annotation Exceptions to the mandatory provision of transportation should be narrowly construed. The exception for children who “reside in cities" should be confined to its common and approved usage. Morrissette v. DeZonia, 63 Wis. 2d 429, 217 N.W.2d 377 (1974).
121.54 Annotation Although a private school was only 127 feet beyond the 5-mile limit of sub. (2) (b) 1., statutory construction was not available to extend the limit. Young v. Mukwonago Board of Education, 74 Wis. 2d 144, 246 N.W.2d 230 (1976).
121.54 Annotation A public school board's refusal to transport parochial pupils during a public school vacation violated sub. (2) (b) 1. Hahner v. Wisconsin Rapids Board of Education, 89 Wis. 2d 180, 278 N.W.2d 474 (Ct. App. 1979).
121.54 Annotation Common carrier passenger service need not be available to all city pupils for school board to possess the option under sub. (1). The “reasonable uniformity" requirement was directed at the distance that pupils are transported, not at the means of transportation that is chosen. St. John Vianney School v. Janesville Board of Education, 114 Wis. 2d 140, 336 N.W.2d 387 (Ct. App. 1983).
121.54 Annotation Students within a private school's attendance area under s. 121.51 (1) were entitled to transportation under sub. (2) (b) 1. although the campus they attended was not within the public school's 5-mile transportation radius, but another campus to which they could be transported was. Providence Catholic School v. Bristol School District No. 1, 231 Wis. 2d 159, 605 N.W.2d 238 (Ct. App. 1999), 98-3390.
121.54 Annotation Reading sub. (2) (b) 2. with s. 121.55, elementary schools are not restricted to providing transportation vehicles owned, operated, or contracted for by the district, but they also have the alternatives available under s. 121.55. Providence Catholic School v. Bristol School District No. 1, 231 Wis. 2d 159, 605 N.W.2d 238 (Ct. App. 1999), 98-3390.
121.54 Annotation Transportation must be on a reasonably uniform basis to all children attending either public or private schools. 61 Atty. Gen. 240.
121.54 Annotation Students may have bus riding privileges suspended without being suspended or expelled from school. However, both public and private school students must be afforded due process under s. 120.13 (1) before such a suspension can take place. 63 Atty. Gen. 526.
121.54 Annotation A public school district did not violate the equal protection clause of the U.S. constitution by refusing to bus the students of charter school created under s. 118.20 (2r) located within its geographical boundaries. Racine Charter One, Inc. v. Racine Unified School District, 424 F.3d 677 (2005).
121.54 Annotation City school busing policies adopted pursuant to subs. (1) and (2) (b) 1. were without rational basis and violated the equal protection rights of city resident private school students who resided more than 2 miles from the school but were denied transportation solely because the school was located 400 feet outside the city and school district boundaries. Deutsch v. Teel, 400 F. Supp. 598 (1975).
121.54 Annotation Sub. (2) (b) 1. does not deny equal protection to students attending parochial school beyond 5-mile limit. O'Connel v. Kniskern, 484 F. Supp. 896 (1980).
121.545 121.545 Additional transportation.
121.545(1)(1)The parent or guardian of a pupil who attends a public or private school and who is not required to be transported under s. 121.54 may contract with the school board of the district for transportation under this subsection. The school board of the district may provide transportation under this subsection to a pupil not required to be transported under s. 121.54, if requested to do so by the parent or guardian of the pupil. The school board may charge a fee for the cost of providing transportation under this subsection and may waive the fee or any portion of the fee for any person who is unable to pay the fee. State aid shall not be provided for transportation under this subsection.
121.545(2) (2)A school board may provide transportation for children residing in the school district whom the school district is not required to transport under s. 121.54 to or from, or both, a before- and after-school child care program under s. 120.125, a prekindergarten class under s. 120.13 (13), a child care program under s. 120.13 (14), or any other child care program, family child care home, child care provider, or prekindergarten class. The school board may charge a fee for the cost of providing such transportation. The school board may waive the fee or any portion of the fee for any person who is unable to pay the fee. State aid shall not be provided for transportation under this subsection.
121.55 121.55 Methods of providing transportation.
121.55(1)(1)School boards may provide transportation by any of the following methods:
121.55(1)(a) (a) By contract with a common carrier, a taxi company or other parties.
121.55(1)(b) (b) By contract with the parent or guardian of the pupil to be transported. If the school board and the parent or guardian cannot agree upon the amount of compensation, the department shall determine the amount of compensation to be designated in the contract.
121.55(1)(c) (c) By contract with another school board, board of control of a cooperative educational service agency or the proper officials of any private school or private school association.
121.55(1)(d) (d) By contract between 2 or more school boards and an individual or a common carrier.
121.55(1)(e) (e) By the purchase and operation of a motor vehicle.
121.55(3) (3)
121.55(3)(a)(a) If the estimated cost of transporting a pupil under s. 121.54 (2) (b) 1. is more than 1.5 times the school district's average cost per pupil for bus transportation in the previous year, exclusive of transportation for kindergarten pupils during the noon hour and for pupils with disabilities, the school board may fulfill its obligation to transport a pupil under s. 121.54 (2) (b) 1. by offering to contract with the parent or guardian of the pupil. Except as provided in pars. (b) and (c), the contract shall provide for an annual payment for each pupil of not less than $5 times the distance in miles between the pupil's residence and the private school he or she attends, or the school district's average cost per pupil for bus transportation in the previous year exclusive of transportation for kindergarten pupils during the noon hour and for pupils with disabilities, whichever is greater.
121.55(3)(b) (b) Except as provided in par. (c), if 2 or more pupils reside in the same household and attend the same private school, the contract under par. (a) may, at the discretion of the school board of the school district operating under ch. 119, provide for a total annual payment for all such pupils of not less than $5 times the distance in miles between the pupils' residence and the private school they attend, or the school district's average cost per pupil for bus transportation in the previous year exclusive of transportation for kindergarten pupils during the noon hour and for pupils with disabilities, whichever is greater.
121.55(3)(c) (c) The payment under this subsection shall not exceed the actual cost nor may the aids paid under s. 121.58 (2) (a) for the pupil exceed the cost thereof. A school board which intends to offer a contract under par. (a) shall notify the parent or guardian of the private school pupil of its intention at least 30 days before the commencement of the school term of the public school district.
121.55 Cross-reference Cross-reference: See also ch. PI 7, Wis. adm. code.
121.55 Annotation Notice under sub. (3) only must be given to parents if the school board seeks to use the reduced formula under sub. (3) and not when the standard parental contract method under sub. (1) is pursued. Providence Catholic School v. Bristol School District No. 1, 231 Wis. 2d 159, 605 N.W.2d 238 (Ct. App. 1999), 98-3390.
121.555 121.555 Alternative methods of providing transportation.
121.555(1)(1)A school board or the governing body of a private school may provide pupil transportation services by the following alternative methods:
121.555(1)(a) (a) A motor vehicle transporting 9 or less passengers in addition to the operator.
121.555(1)(b) (b) A motor vehicle transporting 10 or more passengers in addition to the operator and used temporarily to provide transportation for purposes specified under s. 340.01 (56) (a) when the school board or the governing body requests the secretary of transportation to determine that an emergency exists because no regular transportation is available. The secretary of transportation shall approve or deny the request in writing. Any authorization granted under this paragraph shall specify the purpose and need for the emergency transportation service.
121.555(2) (2)The school board or governing body of a private school shall determine that any motor vehicle used under sub. (1) complies with the following conditions:
121.555(2)(a) (a) Insurance. If the vehicle is owned or leased by a school or a school bus contractor, or is a vehicle authorized under sub. (1) (b), it shall comply with s. 121.53. If the vehicle is transporting 9 or fewer persons in addition to the operator and is not owned or leased by a school or by a school bus contractor, it shall be insured by a policy providing property damage coverage with a limit of not less than $10,000 and bodily injury liability coverage with limits of not less than $25,000 for each person, and, subject to the limit for each person, a total limit of not less than $50,000 for each accident.
121.555(2)(b) (b) Inspection. If the vehicle is owned or leased by a school or a school bus contractor or is operated by a school district employee, it shall be inspected annually for compliance with the requirements of s. 110.075, ch. 347, and the rules of the department of transportation. The owner or lessee of the vehicle is responsible for the annual inspection.
121.555(2)(c) (c) Operator requirements. The operator:
121.555(2)(c)1. 1. Shall possess a valid Wisconsin operator's license or a valid operator's license issued by another jurisdiction, as defined in s. 340.01 (41m), or a valid commercial driver license issued by Mexico.
121.555(2)(c)2. 2. Shall be at least 18 years of age.
121.555(2)(c)3. 3. Shall have sufficient use of both hands and the foot normally employed to operate the foot brake and foot accelerator. The department of transportation may require substantiation of such use by a driving examination conducted by the department or by a medical opinion.
121.555(2)(c)4. 4. Shall submit at least once every 3 years to the school a medical opinion in such form as the school may prescribe that the operator is not afflicted with or suffering from any mental or physical disability or disease such as to prevent the operator from exercising reasonable control over a motor vehicle. The examination report prescribed in s. 118.25 (2) and (4) may be used to satisfy this requirement. This subdivision applies only if the vehicle used under sub. (1) is owned or leased by a school or a school bus contractor or is operated by a school district employee.
121.555(2)(cm) (cm) Waiver of operator requirement. Notwithstanding par. (c) 3., with respect to the operator of a vehicle under sub. (1) (a), a school board or the governing body of a private school may waive the requirement that an operator have sufficient use of both hands if the operator has sufficient use of one hand to safely operate the vehicle which the school board or governing body of the private school proposes the operator use, as substantiated by a special driving examination conducted by the department of transportation. The department of transportation shall conduct the special examination under this paragraph upon the request of a school board, the governing body of a private school or the operator.
121.555(2)(d) (d) Seating requirements. The vehicle may not be used to transport more persons than can be seated on the permanently mounted seats facing forward without interfering with the operator.
121.555(3) (3)
121.555(3)(a)(a) Subject to par. (c), any person that employs or contracts with an individual, except an individual who holds a valid school bus endorsement issued under s. 343.12, to operate a motor vehicle under sub. (1) to transport pupils shall do all of the following before the individual is initially permitted to operate the vehicle and every 4 years thereafter:
121.555(3)(a)1. 1. Notwithstanding ss. 111.321, 111.322, and 111.335, request from the records maintained by the department of justice a criminal history search of the individual. Notwithstanding ss. 111.321, 111.322, and 111.335, if the individual who is the subject of the criminal history search has not resided in this state at anytime within the 2 years preceding the date of the search, the person shall make a good faith effort to obtain additional criminal history information from any state in which the individual has resided during this time period or from any other applicable federal or state agency.
121.555(3)(a)2. 2. Request the individual's operating record from the department of transportation under s. 343.24 or, if the operating record has already been obtained by another entity, from that entity if there are reasonable grounds to believe that the operating record obtained from that entity is accurate and was furnished by the department of transportation to that entity not more than 2 months previously.
121.555(3)(a)3. 3. Obtain a background information form, prescribed by the department under sub. (6) (b), completed by the individual.
121.555(3)(b) (b) Any person that employs or contracts with an individual to operate a motor vehicle under sub. (1) to transport pupils, except an individual who holds a valid school bus endorsement issued under s. 343.12, may require the individual to be fingerprinted on 2 fingerprint cards, each bearing a complete set of the individual's fingerprints, or by other technologies approved by law enforcement agencies. The department of justice may provide for the submission of the fingerprint cards or fingerprints by other technologies to the federal bureau of investigation for the purposes of verifying the identity of the individual fingerprinted and obtaining records of his or her criminal arrests and convictions. Except as provided in this paragraph, fingerprints obtained under this paragraph shall be kept confidential.
121.555(3)(c) (c) Notwithstanding ss. 111.321, 111.322, and 111.335, no person that employs or contracts with an individual, except an individual who holds a valid school bus endorsement issued under s. 343.12, to operate a motor vehicle under sub. (1) to transport pupils may permit the individual to operate such a vehicle if any of the following applies:
121.555(3)(c)1. 1. The person knows or should know that the individual has a record of conviction or operating privilege revocation or adjudicated delinquency that would disqualify the person from issuance or renewal of a school bus endorsement under s. 343.12 (7) and rules promulgated by the department of transportation under s. 343.12 (7) and (8).
121.555(3)(c)2. 2. The person knows or should know that the individual has been convicted of a violation of sub. (4) (b).
121.555(3)(c)3. 3. The person knows or should know that the individual is listed in the registry under s. 146.40 (4g) (a) 2.
121.555(4) (4)
121.555(4)(a)(a) An individual who is employed by or under contract with a person to operate a motor vehicle under sub. (1) to transport pupils shall report to the person in writing within 10 days of the occurrence of any of the following:
121.555(4)(a)1. 1. Any accident in which the individual was involved as the operator of a motor vehicle, regardless of whether the individual was issued a uniform traffic citation or charged with any offense or whether the individual was operating a motor vehicle under sub. (1) to transport pupils.
121.555(4)(a)2. 2. Notwithstanding ss. 111.321, 111.322, and 111.335, any conviction or operating privilege revocation that, under sub. (3) (c), makes the individual ineligible to operate a motor vehicle under sub. (1) to transport pupils or, if the individual holds a valid school bus endorsement issued under s. 343.12, that disqualifies the individual from issuance or renewal of a school bus endorsement under s. 343.12 (7) and rules promulgated by the department of transportation under s. 343.12 (7) and (8).
121.555(4)(a)3. 3. Any suspension or revocation of the individual's operating privilege, or cancellation of a school bus endorsement, by this state or another jurisdiction.
121.555(4)(b) (b) No individual may provide false or incomplete information with respect to any material fact on a background information form specified in sub. (3) (a) 3.
121.555(5) (5)No individual may operate a motor vehicle under sub. (1) to transport pupils if the individual is ineligible to do so under sub. (2) (c) and (cm) or under sub. (3) (c).
121.555(6) (6)
121.555(6)(a)(a) The department shall prepare and make available to school districts, private schools, and contractors providing pupil transportation services informational materials, in printed or electronic form, relating to compliance with this section.
121.555(6)(b) (b) In consultation with persons that employ or contract with individuals to operate motor vehicles under sub. (1), the department shall prescribe a background information form for purposes of sub. (3). The form shall require an individual under sub. (3) (a) to specify whether the individual is listed in the registry under s. 146.40 (4g) (a) 2.
121.555(7) (7)Any person that employs or contracts with an individual to operate a motor vehicle under sub. (1) to transport pupils shall maintain all records and furnish all information determined necessary to determine compliance with this section.
121.555(8) (8)
121.555(8)(a)(a) Any individual who violates sub. (4) (a) or (5) may be required to forfeit not more than $100 for the first offense and not more than $200 for each subsequent offense.
121.555(8)(b) (b) Any individual who violates sub. (4) (b) may be required to forfeit not more than $1,000.
121.555 AnnotationApplication of this section to various methods of transportation is discussed. 75 Atty. Gen. 146 (1986).
121.56 121.56 School bus routes. The school board of each district shall make and be responsible for all necessary provisions for the transportation of pupils, including establishment, administration and scheduling of school bus routes. Upon the request of any school board, the state superintendent shall provide advice and counsel on problems of school transportation. Any private school shall, upon the request of the public school officials, supply all necessary information and reports. The transportation of public and private school pupils shall be effectively coordinated to insure the safety and welfare of the pupils. Upon receipt of a signed order from the state superintendent, the school board shall discontinue any route specified by the state superintendent.
121.56 History History: 1993 a. 492; 1995 a. 27; 1997 a. 27.
121.56 Annotation The refusal by a public school board to transport parochial pupils during a public school vacation violated s. 121.54 (2) (b) 1. Hahner v. Wisconsin Rapids Board of Education, 89 Wis. 2d 180, 278 N.W.2d 474 (Ct. App. 1979).
121.57 121.57 Board and lodging or house rental in lieu of transportation.
121.57(1)(1)
121.57(1)(a) (a) If a school board determines it is to the advantage of the school district and if the parent or guardian determines it is to the advantage of the pupil that board and lodging in lieu of transportation be provided for all or part of the time for a pupil of the school district required to be transported or for whom it has been authorized under s. 121.54 (2), the school board shall enter into a written contract under which the pupil shall be properly boarded and lodged and the school board shall pay for such board and lodging. The pupil's parent or guardian may select the home in which the pupil is boarded and lodged. If a school board determines it is in the interest of the school district, it may pay the tuition of a pupil in a school in another school district in lieu of providing transportation to a school in the school district of residence or board and lodging. If the distance from the pupil's home to the school in another school district is 2 miles or more, the school board of the district of residence shall provide transportation.
121.57(1)(b) (b) This subsection also applies to children with disabilities. The state superintendent may grant permission for a child with a disability to be transported to a school in another school district if an acceptable form of transportation is provided and if such school offers equal or better educational opportunities for the child.
121.57(2) (2)If a school board determines it is in the interest of the school district to rent a house for the family of children required to be transported in lieu of providing such transportation, it may enter into a written lease for such housing and pay as rental therefor not more than the amount which otherwise would be paid for transportation.
121.57(3) (3)This section does not apply to pupils who attend private schools.
121.57 History History: 1993 a. 492; 1995 a. 27 s. 9145 (1); 1997 a. 27, 164.
121.575 121.575 School transportation bio-diesel fuel cost assistance.
121.575(1)(1)In this section:
121.575(1)(a) (a) “Bio-diesel fuel" has the meaning given in s. 16.045 (1) (c).
121.575(1)(b) (b) “Petroleum-diesel fuel" has the meaning given for “diesel fuel" in s. 78.005 (5), but does not include bio-diesel fuel.
121.575(2) (2)
121.575(2)(a)(a) The department may provide school transportation aids to school districts for the increased costs incurred by districts in utilizing bio-diesel fuel as compared with the costs of utilizing petroleum-diesel fuel for school bus transportation.
121.575(2)(b) (b) If the department determines to provide aids to school districts under par. (a), the department, in conjunction with the department of administration, shall apply to the federal government for bio-diesel fuel cost assistance for the purpose of financing payment of the aids. The department shall disburse federal aids received from the appropriation under s. 20.255 (2) (m).
121.575(3) (3)If the federal government requires, as a condition of full federal financial participation under sub. (2) (b), that this state provide assistance for the purposes of sub. (2) (a) from state resources, the department shall provide the assistance from the appropriation under s. 20.255 (2) (cr) in the minimum amount required to obtain full federal financial participation.
121.575(4) (4)
121.575(4)(a)(a) Any school district that utilizes bio-diesel fuel for school bus transportation may apply to the department for state assistance to finance the costs of utilizing that fuel. Except as provided in sub. (5), the department shall apportion assistance to school districts on the basis of the increased costs incurred by each school district in utilizing bio-diesel fuel as compared to the cost that the school district would have incurred in utilizing petroleum-diesel fuel for school bus transportation in the fiscal year preceding the fiscal year for which aids are paid, as adjusted to reflect any change in the statewide average cost of bio-diesel fuel for the current fiscal year as compared to the statewide average cost of such fuel for the preceding fiscal year.
121.575(4)(b) (b) For purposes of par. (a), if a school district does not utilize bio-diesel fuel for some or all of the school bus transportation provided by the school district in any fiscal year, the department shall compute and utilize, for purposes of this subsection, the cost differential that the school district would have incurred in utilizing bio-diesel fuel on the basis of statewide average costs.
121.575(4)(c) (c) The department shall annually determine the statewide average cost of bio-diesel fuel and petroleum-diesel fuel for purposes of administration of this subsection.
121.575(4)(d) (d) If in any fiscal year there are insufficient moneys available to reimburse all school districts that apply for state assistance under par. (a) for the full amount of reimbursable costs under this subsection, the department shall, after making any required deduction under sub. (5), prorate the available moneys among the school districts entitled thereto on a per pupil basis.
121.575(5) (5)Each school district that receives aids under sub. (2) (a) for any fiscal year shall report to the department, in the form prescribed by the department, a statement of its actual costs incurred in utilizing bio-diesel fuel for school bus transportation in that fiscal year. If the actual increased costs incurred by a school district in utilizing bio-diesel fuel for school bus transportation in any fiscal year, as compared to the costs that the school district would have incurred in utilizing petroleum-diesel fuel for school bus transportation, are less than the amount of the aids received by the school district under sub. (2) (a) for that fiscal year, the department shall deduct the amount of the difference from the amount of the aids payable to the school district under sub. (2) (a) for the current fiscal year.
121.575 History History: 2005 a. 43.
121.58 121.58 State aid.
121.58(1)(1)Report.
121.58(1)(a)(a) In the report filed under s. 120.18 the school district clerk shall include such information as the department requires on the number of pupils for whom transportation or board and lodging is provided.
121.58(1)(b) (b) Annually, by the time the department prescribes under s. 120.18, an operator of a charter school authorized under s. 118.40 (2r) or (2x) that provides transportation to and from the charter school shall provide a report to the department that includes the number of pupils for whom transportation is provided and any other information the department requires related to the transportation of those pupils.
121.58(2) (2) State aid for transportation.
121.58(2)(a) (a) A school district that provides transportation to and from a school under ss. 118.50 (3) (a), 121.54 (1) to (3), (5), and (6), and 121.57, a nonresident school district that a pupil attends under s. 118.51 or 121.84 (4) which elects to provide transportation under s. 121.54 (10), and an operator of a charter school authorized under s. 118.40 (2r) or (2x) that provides transportation under s. 118.40 (2r) (dm) shall be paid state aid for such transportation at the following rates:
121.58(2)(a)1. 1. For each pupil so transported whose residence is at least 2 miles and not more than 5 miles from the school attended, $30 per school year in the 2005-06 school year and $35 per school year thereafter.
121.58(2)(a)2. 2. For each pupil so transported whose residence is more than 5 miles and not more than 8 miles from the school attended, $45 per school year in the 2005-06 school year and $55 per school year thereafter.
121.58(2)(a)3. 3. For each pupil so transported whose residence is more than 8 miles and not more than 12 miles from the school attended, $82 per school year in the 2005 school year and $110 per school year thereafter.
121.58(2)(a)4. 4. For each pupil so transported whose residence is more than 12 miles from the school attended, $300 per school year in the 2016-17 school year and $365 per school year thereafter.
121.58(2)(am) (am) State aid for transportation shall not exceed the actual cost thereof. No state aid of any kind may be paid to a school district which charges the pupil transported or his or her parent or guardian any part of the cost of transportation provided under ss. 121.54 (1) to (3), (5), (6) and (10) and 121.57 or which willfully or negligently fails to transport all pupils for whom transportation is required under s. 121.54.
121.58(2)(b) (b) A school board that provides transportation under s. 121.54 (2) (am) shall be paid state aid for such transportation at the rates specified and according to the conditions established under pars. (a) and (am), except that the amount of state aid may not exceed the amount which the school district would receive for transporting the child between the child's residence and school attended under s. 121.54 (1) to (3), (5), (6) or (9) or 121.57.
121.58(2)(c) (c) A school district which provides transportation to and from a school under s. 121.54 (9) shall be paid state aid for such transportation at the rate of $12 per school year per pupil so transported in the 2005-06 school year and $15 per school year per pupil so transported thereafter. Such state aid shall be reduced proportionately in the case of a pupil transported for less than a full year because of nonenrollment. State aid for such transportation shall not exceed the actual cost thereof.
121.58(2)(d) (d) In addition to any other payments made under this section, the department shall allocate $35,000 annually to reimburse school districts for 75 percent of the costs incurred to transport pupils over ice from their residence on an island to school on the mainland and back to their residence on the island, including the costs of maintaining and storing equipment. If in any school year the amount to which school districts are entitled under this paragraph exceeds $35,000, the department shall prorate the payments among the eligible school districts.
121.58(3) (3) State aid for board and lodging. A school district which provides board and lodging or housing under s. 121.57 (2) in lieu of transportation shall be paid state aid for such board and lodging or housing at the rate of not more than $6 per week of 5 days for each pupil so boarded and lodged or housed, but not to exceed 60 percent of the cost. For children with disabilities, as defined in s. 115.76 (5), such state aid shall be supplemented by the state aid under s. 115.88 in an amount not to exceed the full cost of such board and lodging.
121.58(4) (4) State aid for summer class transportation. Annually on or before October 1 of the year in which transportation is provided under s. 118.50 (3) (b) or 121.54 (4), or under s. 121.54 (10) if the transportation is provided by the nonresident school district that a pupil attends under s. 118.51 or 121.84 (4), the school district clerk shall file with the department a report, containing such information as the department requires, on transportation provided by the school board to and from summer classes. Upon receipt of such report and if the summer classes meet the requirements of s. 121.14 (1) (a) 1. or 2., state aid shall be paid for such transportation. A school district which provides such transportation shall be paid state aid for such transportation at the rate of $10 per pupil transported to and from public school whose residence is at least 2 miles and not more than 5 miles by the nearest traveled route from the public school attended, and $20 per pupil transported to and from public school whose residence is more than 5 miles by the nearest traveled route from the public school attended, if the pupil is transported 30 days or more. The state aid shall be reduced proportionately if the pupil is transported less than 30 days.
121.58(5) (5) State superintendent approval. If the state superintendent is satisfied that transportation or board and lodging was provided in compliance with law, the state superintendent shall certify to the department of administration the sum due the school district. The state superintendent may not certify payment of state aid under sub. (2) for the number of pupils calculated under s. 121.85 (6) (am). In case of differences concerning the character and sufficiency of the transportation or board and lodging, the state superintendent may determine such matter and his or her decision is final.
121.58(6) (6) Appropriation; proration, distribution of balance.
121.58(6)(a) (a) If the appropriation under s. 20.255 (2) (cr) in any one year is insufficient to pay the full amount of approved claims under this section, state aid payments for school districts not participating in the program under s. 121.575 shall be prorated as though the minimum amount under s. 121.575 (3) had not been made and state aid payments for school districts participating in the program under s. 121.575 shall be prorated after deducting the minimum amount under s. 121.575 (3).
121.58(6)(b) (b) If the appropriation under s. 20.255 (2) (cr) in any fiscal year exceeds the amount of approved claims paid in full under this section and s. 121.575, the department shall distribute the balance to those school districts and charter school operators entitled to state aid under this section, with each entitled recipient receiving a percentage of the balance equal to its percentage of the total approved claims.
121.58(7) (7) Payment. Each school district and charter school operator entitled to state aid under this section shall receive its total aid entitlement in January.
121.59 121.59 High cost transportation aid.
121.59(1)(1)In this section:
121.59(1)(a) (a) “Eligible school district" means a school district the membership of which in the previous school year, when divided by the school district's area in square miles, is 50 or less.
121.59(1)(b) (b) “Transportation costs" means costs that are eligible for reimbursement under s. 121.58.
121.59(2) (2)Annually the department shall pay to each eligible school district the amount determined as follows:
121.59(2)(a) (a) Divide the statewide school district transportation costs in the previous school year by the statewide membership in the previous school year and multiply the quotient by 1.45.
121.59(2)(b) (b) Divide the school district's transportation costs in the previous school year by the school district's membership in the previous school year.
121.59(2)(c) (c) Subtract the product under par. (a) from the quotient under par. (b).
121.59(2)(d) (d) If the remainder under par. (c) is a positive number, multiply it by the school district's membership.
121.59(2)(e) (e) Divide the product under par. (d) for the school district by the product under par. (d) for all eligible school districts.
121.59(2)(f) (f) Multiply the quotient under par. (e) by the amount appropriated under s. 20.255 (2) (cq).
121.59(2m) (2m)
121.59(2m)(a)(a) Beginning in the 2017-18 school year and in any school year thereafter, if a school district was eligible to receive aid under sub. (2) in the immediately preceding school year but is ineligible to receive aid in the current school year because the number under sub. (2) (d) is not a positive number, the state superintendent shall, subject to par. (b), pay to that school district the amount determined as follows:
121.59(2m)(a)1. 1. Determine the amount paid to the school district under sub. (2) (f) in the immediately preceding school year.
121.59(2m)(a)2. 2. Multiply the amount under subd. 1. by 0.5.
121.59(2m)(b) (b) The sum of all payments under par. (a) may not exceed $200,000 in any fiscal year. If in any school year the amount to which school districts are entitled under par. (a) exceeds $200,000, the state superintendent shall prorate the payments among the eligible school districts.
121.59(3) (3)Aid under this section shall be paid from the appropriation under s. 20.255 (2) (cq).
121.59 History History: 2013 a. 20; 2015 a. 55; 2017 a. 59.
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2017-18 Wisconsin Statutes updated by 2017 Wis. Acts 368 to 370 and through all Supreme Court and Controlled Substances Board Orders filed before and in effect on April 1, 2019. Published and certified under s. 35.18. Changes effective after April 1, 2019, are designated by NOTES. (Published 4-1-19)