Frequently Asked Questions

Listed are some commonly asked questions about school busing in WCPS. If you still have any questions, let us know by sending an email to transportation@wolfcreek.ab.ca!

 

How do I get my child on the bus?

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

Which towns in WCPS have urban busing?

What is the cost?                                                                                                                              

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

Who needs to register for busing?

Do I have to register every year?                                         

Is my child guaranteed a seat?            

Do I get door to door pickup?

What about pickup and drop-off times?

What should students do if the bus does not pick them up?

My child is in kindergarten and goes half days?  Do you do bus at lunch?

My child is enrolled in Pre-Kindergarten, can they ride the bus?                  

My child has special needs, can he ride the bus?

What is a Cross Boundary student?                                                                                            

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

What does School of Choice mean?

Can my child bring friends home on the bus?

We share custody of our children and they spend 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 schools are closed?

Why should my child be dressed appropriately for weather?

I live in town and I 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?

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 happens if the bus is full?

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 get my child on the bus?

A - You must register your child for busing. Because a child is registered for school does not mean they are registered for busing.  To register your child go to the WCPS website and click on Busing and then on the Online Busing Form.

If you live in town you will be asked for your complete civic or street address.  If you live in the country you must provide both the full legal land description and the full 911 address also referred to as your blue sign address, including the Township or Range Road.  Failure to provide full and accurate information will delay the registration process.

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

A - When you click submit on the application you will receive an automated e-mail saying that the application has been received. If you are applying for a new school year, after your application has been downloaded and processed you will receive an e-mail from Transportation Services indicating if your application has been accepted or denied—depending on when you register this could take until mid-summer.  If you are applying during the school year for the current year, you will get a phone call from the Transportation Department or a bus driver with the bus stop location and time information.

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Q - Which towns in WCPS have urban busing?                                                                                       

- Urban busing is available in the City of Lacombe, Town of Ponoka and Town of Blackfalds

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Q - What is the cost?                                                                                                                                

- There is no cost for rural (country) bus students.  Most urban (Blackfalds, Lacombe & Ponoka) students fall into a user pay category if they live less than the current 2.4 kms cut-off from school. The fee is reviewed annually by the School Board.  The distances are calculated using  Transportation software under the Alberta Education guidelines. Fees are reviewed annual by the School Board and may be adjusted to reflect bussing costs.

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

 A - When your child is approved for busing you will get an e-mail.  The e-mail will contain instructions for payment and a link to our online fee system.  A payment plan arrangement or full payment is expected prior to your child being granted access to a bus.  The current online fee system payment types can be in the form of Visa or MasterCard. No cheques accepted.   The payment plan or installment plan option is available only to those who sign up for it prior to September 30th.   A family rate is also available for families with more than two children.

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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.

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Q - Do I have to register every year?                                                   

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

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Q - Is my child guaranteed a seat?                    

A - We are obligated to transport rural students and eligible urban students who live farther than the School Board designated distance of 2.4 km. User pay students are only accepted if the fees are up to date and there is room on the bus.

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Q - Do I get door to door pickup?

- Town buses stop at pre-determined collection points along their appointed routes.  Rural students get picked up at or near their driveway, rural subdivisions may also have common collection points.  The exceptions to this are Cross Boundary students who must meet the bus at a predetermined pickup / drop off location. 

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Q - What about pickup and drop-off times?

A - New school year pickup times are finalized in late August or early September.   However, adjustments can occur throughout the year if there are changes in the route or riders.  The driver will notify the parents of any changes to the pickup times.  Generally speaking, drop-off times need to be somewhat flexible.  Routes can be shortened due to student absences in the afternoon.  This may result in your student arriving home early.  Make arrangements or have a contingency plan for these situations.

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Q - What should students do if the bus does not pick them up?

A - Parents should ensure that their child have a plan in the event that the bus does not arrive to pick them up.  Children must be aware of how long to wait at their stop before returning home or going to their alternate locations.  Please check the website for possible busing delays.  www.wolfcreek.ab.ca

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Q - My child is in kindergarten and goes half days?  Do you do bus at lunch?

A - We do not do mid-day busing for half day kindergarten students. If your child attends morning kindergarten we can bus them to school but you will have to make alternate plans to get them home after their morning of classes.  Alternately, if your child attends afternoon kindergarten you will have to provide transportation for them to get to school in the afternoon and we can bus them home after school.  If your child attends a school with full day kindergarten we will transport them morning and afternoon.  Please ensure your driver knows which days your child is attending.

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Q - My child is enrolled in Pre-Kindergarten, can they ride the bus?                   

A - We do not bus students in pre-kindergarten.  We only transport students who are Kindergarten age through Grade 12.        

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Q - My child has special needs, can he ride the bus?

A - It depends on the severity and type of the needs of the child.  Each situation is assessed individually.  Transportation Services takes its direction from Inclusive Learning Services Department of WCPS when it comes to providing special needs busing for students.

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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 Wolf Creek have boundary or catchment areas and students in a particular boundary area normally attend the school in that area.  Cross Boundary students must be approved by both school principals and then if approved by the schools, parents must apply for busing.  Transportation Services will determine if there is space available on a bus and what stop the student will meet the bus at.  Parents then complete the Cross Boundary application.  Parents are expected to meet a bus at an existing stop in their preferred school’s area. This location may change should the routes change. If space is not available on a bus, WCPS is not obligated to make room on a bus for Cross Boundary students.

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

A - Attending a school with French Immersion is considered a school of choice. WCPS is not obligated to transport students to French Immersion schools if they do not live within that school’s catchment area.  French Immersion catchment areas are the Lacombe and Blackfalds jurisdictions only.  If you do not live in the catchment area then cross boundary rules will apply.

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Q – What does School of Choice mean?

A – Under the School Act, parents have the ability to choose a school other than the designated school of attendance for their students.  If a family decides to attend a school other than their WCPS designated school, the Board is not required to provide transportation for the student to the school of choice.

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

A - Guest riders are not allowed except in emergency situations only and must be pre-approved by the Transportation Department.  Text messages and e-mails cannot be substituted for contacting the Transportation department. Drivers are not allowed to make exceptions or special arrangements.  Asking them to do so puts the driver in a bad position.

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Q - We share custody of our children and they spend one week at one household and one week at the other household, can we get busing from both homes?

- WCPS is obligated to use one bus stop only.  This is typically based on the parent’s address that has been register at the school.  Drivers are not allowed to make exceptions or special arrangements.  The one exception to this is if the parents lived on the same bus route, a second stop could be added but only if the Administrative Procedure 560 waiver form was signed and returned to the Transportation Department for approval. 

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

A - If Wolf Creek schools are closed parents will receive notification via an automated dialer. The automated dialer will send messages out to parents via home telephone and e-mail.  Text message 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.  Closures may also be on Twitter and FaceBook.

If specific routes are cancelled or delayed, this information will be available on the WCPS website www.wolfcreek.ab.ca  Decisions will be made as to what is in the best interest for the safety of our students and staff.  Parents have every right to keep their children home or pick them up early if they do not feel the weather or road conditions are safe.   Please visit the Wolf Creek website for the Inclement Weather policy (Admin Procedure .

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Q - Why should my child be dressed appropriately for weather?

A - In the event that a bus breaks down or gets stuck, it is critical that students are dressed for weather conditions.  If a bus break down occurs it may be some time before another bus comes or alternate arrangements can be made to transport students.  The buses get very cold, very quickly If the engine is not running.

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

- You would be charged for the entire year.  This is because you would be reserving a seat on the bus for the whole year. 

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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 and keep in mind that user pay fees may come into effect.  Please note that if you are moving to a user pay area and the bus is full your child will be put on a waiting list for that route.

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

A - Students are expected to be at their designated stop 5 minutes prior to the arrival of the bus, and to stay off the travelled 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.

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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.

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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 a part of the waiver the responsibility of keeping the driveway cleared and maintained.  If it is not maintained and clear of snow, debris the bus driver may not enter.  Private driveways and turn around areas will be inspected by a Transportation Services Department staff prior to the waiver being accepted.

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

- Funding is only available for students that are 2.4km and further from their designated school.  This distance is calculated from their primary residence.  Alberta Education has set this criterion.  Individual school taxes are not directed to Wolf Creek Public Schools.  Each year the school division must apply for grants based on the number of students in each school.  In order for the division to receive transportation funding for your child, they must be 2.4km or further from their designated school.

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Q - What happens if the bus is full?

A - We are obligated to bus students 2.4km or further from their designated school (eligible rides) and we will ensure that there is room for these students.  There are times that we may alter a route to balance the load and move students from one bus to another to accommodate the numbers.  This may result in a change in pick up and drop off times.  In the event that buses become full user pay applicants will be put on a waiting list and will be notified should space become available.

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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.

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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 550.1 (new policy # 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 our 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.

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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.

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Q - How are the rules decided?

- The School Act provides that a school board 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 to levy a fee for transportation services.

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