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 Once adopted, such a resolution may be repealed only upon one year's notice to the board of the union high school district of which the underlying district is a part.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:
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2017-18 Wisconsin Statutes updated through 2019 Wis. Act 5 and through all Supreme Court and Controlled Substances Board Orders filed before and in effect on April 21, 2019. Published and certified under s. 35.18. Changes effective after May 11, 2019, are designated by NOTES. (Published 5-11-19)