Giving Parents Options: Strategies for Informing Parents and Implementing Public School Choice And Supplemental Educational Services Under No Child Left Behind
September 2007
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Providing transportation effectively

No Child Left Behind requires districts to pay for or provide transportation to students transferring to a new school under public school choice. As more and more students exercise choice and attend schools at various locations in the district, providing transportation for all students may become more of a challenge. Below are some considerations for districts in devising transparent and efficient transportation plans or systems.

Using a transportation Web site. As concerns over transportation may cause parents to be hesitant about exercising choice, a district should consider making information about its transportation plan readily available to parents via the Internet as well as by e-mail and other means. A district could provide information about how it will pay for or provide transportation and include bus routes, stops, and rosters, etc. By making this information available on a Web site, the district can easily make changes to the plan and ensure that parents have the most up-to-date information.

Districts could also consider setting up electronic portals through which parents, principals, and others could ask questions and make transportation requests.

Coordinating busing across schools: Using a system of hubs and shared routes. Establishing a coordinated transportation system across schools is another step that a district could take to address transportation challenges when providing public school choice. In such a system, certain schools in the district could, for instance, serve as busing hubs that receive students from various schools across the district and then transport them home. Based on area of residence—not school of attendance—transportation systems such as these may allow schools to share routes and thus can help avoid the need to transport only a small number of students from one school long distances across the district.

Defining transportation zones. To further facilitate providing transportation, some larger districts have opted to set up defined transportation zones based on geographic location, and offer transportation to families exercising public school choice only in schools within a certain zone or zones. Parents may still be able to choose a school for their child that is outside the designated zone(s), although the district may not provide transportation directly for that student, or may choose to defray only a portion of the costs associated with transporting the student to and from the school.

In defining zones, districts should make decisions based on genuine issues of distance, and should strive to include in each zone a range of transfer options that is as diverse as possible.

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Last Modified: 08/18/2008