Busing Documents - Frequently Asked Questions

Listed are some frequently asked questions. To view WCPS’ complete policies regarding busing please visit our website at:
www.wolfcreek.ab.ca/school-division/transportation

 

How do I register my child for busing?

How will I know if my child is approved for busing?

Which towns in WCPS have urban busing?

How much are busing fees?

I live in town, how do I pay for busing?

Do I have to register my child(ren) every year?

Is my child guaranteed a seat?

Do I get door-to-door pickup?

What is a “Cross Boundary” student?

I would like my child to go to a French Immersion school, is this possible?

Can my child bring friends home on the bus?

We share custody of our child(ren), spending one week at one household and one week at the other household, can we get busing from both homes?

What happens when the roads are bad or if the school is closed?

I live in town and only want to pay for busing when it’s cold. How much would it be?

My family is moving. How do we get our busing transferred to our new address?

How long will my “user pay” child be on the waiting list?

Who needs to register for busing?

When can I register for busing for the next school year?

When do I need to be at the bus stop?

Do I need to wait with my child at the stop?

My rural driveway is very long or the stop on the road way is not safe?

I pay taxes.  Why do I need to pay a fee for busing?

What if my child is not going to be on the bus?

Are there restrictions as to what my child can take on the bus?

How are behavior issues dealt with on the bus?

How are the rules decided?




 

 

Q - How do I register my child for busing?

A - Registering your child for school does not register your child for busing. To register your child for busing, go to the WCPS website and click on the “Departments” tab, followed by “Transportation”, and select “Apply for Busing”.
www.wolfcreek.ab.ca/school-division/transportation

If you live in town you will be asked for your complete civic or street address, plus mailing address. If you live in the country you must provide both the full legal land description and the full blue sign (911) address, including the Township or Range Road.
Please ensure you provide full and accurate information to avoid any delay in processing.

Q - How will I know if my child is approved for busing?

A - When you submit the application you will receive an automated email indicating your application has been received. After your application has been processed, you will receive an email from Transportation Services indicating whether your application has been accepted or denied. Depending on when you register, this could take until mid-to-late August. Registrations are processed in the order they are received.

Q - Which towns in WCPS have urban busing?

A - Urban busing is available in Lacombe, Ponoka, and Blackfalds.

Q - How much are busing fees?

A - There are no fees for rural (country) bus students. Most urban (Blackfalds, Lacombe & Ponoka) students fall into the “user pay” category, if they live less than 2.4 km from their school. Distances are calculated through transportation software and Alberta Education criteria. Fees are reviewed annually by the Board of Trustees and posted on the Division webpage.

Q - I live in town, how do I pay for busing?

A - When your child is approved for busing you will get an email. The email will contain instructions for payment and a link to the Rycor online payment system. A payment plan arrangement, or full payment, is expected prior to your child being granted access to the bus. The payment plan option is available only to those parents who register early and for a limited time only. A family rate is available for those with three (3) or more children in one family, from one household. All fees are paid online.

Q - Do I have to register my child(ren) every year?

A - Rural busing students are not required to register every year, unless you move or have a child just starting school. Urban (town) bus students must register every year.

Q - Is my child guaranteed a seat?

A - WCPS is obligated to transport rural students and eligible urban students who live more than 2.4 km from their school. As “user pay” seats are limited, “user pay” students are only accepted based on availability.

Q - Do I get door-to-door pickup?

A - Town buses stop at pre-determined collection points along their appointed routes. Rural students get picked up at or near their driveway. The exception to this is “Cross Boundary” students.

Q - What is a “Cross Boundary” student?

A - “Cross Boundary” students are students who go to a school outside of their designated area. Schools in WCPS have boundary or catchment areas and students in a particular boundary area normally attend the school in their area. “Cross Boundary” students must be approved by both school principals. If approved, parents must apply for busing. Transportation Services will determine if there is space available on a bus and at which stop the student will meet the bus. Parents then complete the “Cross Boundary” application. Students are expected to meet a bus at an existing stop in their preferred school’s area. If space is not available on a bus, WCPS is not obligated to make room on a bus for “Cross Boundary” students.

Q - I would like my child to go to a French Immersion school, is this possible?

A - WCPS French Immersion programming is available to students in the Lacombe and Blackfalds catchments, and transportation for students living in those catchment areas is available. A “Cross Boundary” situation may apply, but may not be possible in all cases.

Q - Can my child bring friends home on the bus?

A - Guest riders are not allowed on the bus.

Q - We share custody of our child(ren), spending one week at one household and one week at the other household, can we get busing from both homes?

A - WCPS is obligated to use one bus stop only. This is typically based on the parent’s address that has been registered with the school. Drivers are not allowed to make exceptions or special arrangements.

Q - What happens when the roads are bad or if the school is closed?

A - Parents will receive notification via an automated dialer if schools or buses in WCPS are closed or cancelled. The automated dialer will send messages out to parents based on the phone numbers and email addresses provided to their school. Text messages will be sent if parents have signed up to be notified in this manner. Check the WCPS website and listen to local radio stations for school and bus cancellations.

If specific routes are cancelled or delayed, this information will be available on the WCPS website. Decisions will be made as to what is in the best interest for the safety of students and staff. Parents have every right to keep their child(ren) home or pick them up early if they do not feel the weather or road conditions are safe.

AP 132: Closure of Schools Due to Inclement Weather is an administrative procedure that guides decisions on whether to cancel buses and close schools due to inclement weather. Please see the FACT SHEET for more on this AP.

Q - I live in town and only want to pay for busing when it’s cold. How much would it be?

A - As you would be reserving a seat on the bus for the entire year, you would be charged for the entire year.

Q - My family is moving. How do we get our busing transferred to our new address?

A - To have your transportation changed you must re-register your children and note in the comment area that you are moving. Please give Transportation Services as much notice as possible when requesting a change. Keep in mind that “user pay” fees may come into effect and your student may be waitlisted for a seat.

Q– How long will my “user pay” child be on the waiting list?

A - Unfortunately it is not possible to specifically determine how long a wait list will be, as we cannot predict when or if space will be available.

Q - Who needs to register for busing?

A - All students who are new to busing must register. This means all rural kindergarten students and anyone who is new to the busing areas. High school students who are going from Blackfalds to Lacombe must also register. All urban (town) students must re-register every year. “User pay” seats are not guaranteed from year-to-year. Note: We do not provide transportation for Pre-K students.

Q - When can I register for busing for the next school year?

A - Registration for the 2019-2020 school year opens April 1, 2019 and the deadline is June 15, 2019.

Q - When do I need to be at the bus stop? 

A - Students are expected to be at their designated stop five (5) minutes prior to the arrival of the bus, and to stay off the traveled roadway at all times while waiting for the bus. Students are also expected to be courteous of residential property and to stay on town sidewalks and designated bus stop areas. Drivers cannot wait for late students or for a student to come down a drive way. If everyone on the bus were late even by one minute the bus would arrive at school approximately 30 minutes late.

Q - Do I need to wait with my child at the stop?

A - We do not provide supervision at bus stops along the urban routes. Our drivers are responsible for the students once they board the bus until they unload at the school. On a field trip or school trip, the school staff on board the bus are to supervise the children on the bus for these occasions.

Q - My rural driveway is very long or the stop on the road way is not safe?

- As a measure to ensure safety you may ask that a bus comes on to your property for your rural pickup or turn around. A liability waiver must be signed by the property owner and returned to the Transportation Department. As part of the waiver, the owner has the responsibility of keeping the driveway cleared and maintained. If it is not maintained and clear of snow or debris the bus driver may not enter. Private driveways and turn around areas will be inspected by Transportation Services Department staff prior to the waiver being accepted.

Q - I pay taxes.  Why do I need to pay a fee for busing?

- Funding is only available for students who live more than 2.4km designated school. Individual school taxes are not directed to Wolf Creek Public Schools. Each year the school division must apply for grants based on student enrollment. In order for the division to receive transportation funding for your child, they must be 2.4km or more from their designated school.

Q - What if my child is not going to be on the bus?

A - Call the driver the night before, or before the driver leaves for their morning run (the driver will provide you with his/her contact number). If you are unable to contact the driver at either time, you may contact the bus shop and the shop staff will radio the driver.

Q - Are there restrictions as to what my child can take on the bus? 

A - According to the Highway Traffic Act, there are restrictions as to what may be brought on a bus. The School Board has adopted Administrative Procedure 562 .  It outlines that hockey sticks, lacrosse sticks, large band equipment etc. cannot be brought on the bus. Skis, poles and snowboards as well as skateboards and the like would definitely fall into the items that cannot be transported on WCPS school buses. Other items would include large school projects, animals, firearms or weapons, explosives, flammable materials or substances.  Items cannot block the aisle or emergency exits. Skates are permitted provided that blade guards protect the blades and they are carried in a heavy tote bag and stored under the students’ seat.

Q - How are behavior issues dealt with on the bus?

A - Drivers have a variety of acceptable methods. If an issue escalates and the issue cannot be dealt with on the bus, the driver is encouraged to write a discipline report and submit it to the student’s school principal for resolution. A driver’s main focus must be on driving and distractions can be very dangerous.

Q - How are the rules decided?

- The School Act provides that a school division shall, in accordance with the regulation, transport a student who:

  • Resides within the attendance area of the school in which the student is enrolled;
  • Resides within the division boundary; and
  • Resides at a distance greater than 2.4 km from that school

The Act also allows the Board of Trustees to levy a fee for transportation services.

If you still have any questions, let us know by sending an email to transportation@wolfcreek.ab.ca!