Frequently Asked Questions on Transportation

Below are commonly asked questions about the transportation services provided by Rochester Public Schools. Please read the following questions before contacting the Transportation Office with questions.

For other questions or more information, feel free to reach out to the office of Transportation Services.

Transportation Services

Address: Edison Building | Room 122
615 7th Street, SW
Rochester, MN 55902
Phone: (507) 328-4260
Fax: (507) 328-4258
Email: Transportation Office

How far do I have to live from school before the school district is required to transport them?

By statute school districts are required to transport students living more than 2 miles from school. In Rochester, students in grades K-5 living more than 1.25 miles, grades 6-8 living more than 1.5 miles and 9-12 living more than 2 miles are provided transportation.

Is the school district required to transport children who live less than 2 miles from school if there is a hazard between the home and the school?

No. A school district may transport children who would encounter an extraordinary traffic, drug, or crime hazard if they walked, but the school district is not required to provide transportation. In Rochester, the district provides adult crossing guards at 39 locations and does bus for a very limited amount of hazardous conditions, due to extraordinary traffic hazards.

Who determines what conditions are extraordinary traffic, drug, or crime hazards?

The school district would determine what conditions would be considered hazardous. In Rochester, the district consults with the city traffic engineer to get advice on this subject.

How does the district measure the distance between a child’s home and the school?

The non-busing boundaries are computer generated using a positional accurate map from the Olmsted County GIS division. The distance is generated from property entrance to property entrance using the shortest path taking into account walk paths, etc.

How far can a school district require a child to walk to a bus stop?

There is nothing in state law or rule about the distance between the child’s home and the bus stop. This is true for all grade levels.

Visibility of a bus stop from the child’s home is not a deciding factor for bus stops. In Rochester, students living in cul-de-sac up to ½ mile are expected to walk out to the intersection. It is not uncommon for students to walk up to 3 blocks.

The only exception would be for a special education student. 

Is there a law or rule that limits the amount of time a child can spend on the school bus?

There is nothing in state law or rule that sets a maximum amount of time a child can spend on the school bus. Local school districts may adopt a maximum time in their School Board’s transportation policy.

In Rochester, our goal is to keep rides as close to one hour as possible, but students in outlying areas do have rides longer than one hour.

Can my child lose their bus riding privileges?

Yes. In Minnesota, riding a school bus is a privilege and not a right. Each local school district has adopted rules of conduct for waiting at the bus stop and riding the school bus. If your child does not follow the rules, your child could lose their bus riding privileges for the entire school year.

Please note that when school bus routing is mailed, there is an enclosed sheet that discusses the discipline policy in more detail.

Will my child receive school bus safety training at school?

Yes. Children in grades K-10 must receive school bus safety training during the first few weeks of school. It is recommended that parents review the school bus safety rules with younger children throughout the school year.

Are there any laws and rules that limit the passenger seating on a school bus?

Yes. The number of children on the school bus cannot be more than the number of passengers that can be fully seated. The seating capacity must be adjusted according to each passenger’s physical size, but cannot be more than the manufacturer’s rated seating capacity for the bus. No child is allowed to stand while the bus is in motion.

I am open enrolling my child into your district. What are the responsibilities of the enrolling district regarding transportation?

The enrolling district has the obligation to transport from the district line. In Rochester, a safe location as close to the district line as possible is designated for the bus stop.

I want my child to be transported based on a daycare. Does the district have to provide transportation?

The district will provide transportation to and from a daycare as long as the daycare address meets the same requirements as your home address. The daycare must be in the same attendance area of the school your student is attending, and meet the distance requirements. Also, transportation to and from daycare must be consistent meaning that the pickup and drop off point must be the same every day.

I would like my child to ride the bus home with a friend. How can I arrange this?

Students are to ride their assigned bus due to space limitations and student tracking. If you are called out of town on an emergency, a temporary care form can be filled out. This will be honored if there is a bus in the area with room for the student. Only the Temporary Care form will be honored, signed notes from parents are not accepted.

My child doesn’t qualify for busing. Can I pay for transportation?

Yes. There is an opportunity for families that don’t qualify for busing based on distance to pay for transportation. For more information please review the pay-to-ride option webpage.