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No, school transportation is provided through a contract with First Student Transportation.
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Preschool: All Special Education preschool students are eligible for bus transportation. Peer Model preschool students are not eligible for bus transportation.
Kindergarten: All children in kindergarten are eligible for bus transportation.
Grades 1-5: All children in grades one through five who reside more than one (1) mile from the school which they are entitled to attend are eligible for bus transportation.
Grade 6-8: All children in grade six - eight who reside more than one and one-half (1.5) miles from the school to which they are assigned are eligible for bus transportation.
Grades 9-12: The Gardner Public School Department does not currently provide yellow school bus transportation for students in these grades. However, MART (Montachusett Area Regional Transportation) provides two types of buses students may ride to school:
Subscription Service: This subscription service is available through the MART office on 555 Main Street in Gardner. MART offers special vans for door-to-door pick-up and drop-off of students. For more information, please call MART at 978-632-7373.
Fixed Route Service: Students may utilize MART buses that provide transportation to Gardner residents (adults and children). This MART service follows a fixed route around the City of Gardner, with several stops for the convenience of riders. Please click here to contact MART for the list of routes and times.
Please see route listing by school. Please note that Special Education preschool student transportation is arranged through the Special Education office. Parents will be notified by mail regarding pick-up and drop-off times. Kindergarten routes, usually close to your home, are developed annually. Because of safety concerns for your children, we do not publish these routes since they may contain specific addresses of youngsters. The Waterford Street School Principal will send this information directly to parents in the mail.
Pick-up and drop-off times should not vary to any great extent on a normal basis. Circumstances beyond our control could make the bus late occasionally. Vehicle break downs, impassable roads, emergencies, or drivers becoming ill are just a few reasons that could make the bus late. We will always make sure a bus will be at your stop. If the wait is longer than fifteen minutes, please contact your child's school.
Under certain circumstances, students who are not eligible may ride the bus on a space available basis. Please note that buses are generally used to full capacity. If you would like to apply for a bus pass, please contact your school's main office for an application. The cost of the pass is $100.00 for the year.
School bus stops are placed in central locations to shorten route length and times. Transportation personnel make every effort to see that these stops are safe and are within appropriate walking distances.
If a child's home address meets the eligibility requirements for transportation and the daycare address is on an existing route, the child may travel from daycare to school and school to daycare. However, there must be an available seat on the bus, and there is a fee of $100 to procure a bus pass. Such an arrangement must take place on a regular basis, and parents are responsible for transportation to school until the arrangement is in place. Safety concerns preclude us from transporting a child to several different locations during the week.
Over time many calculations have been done to measure distances from school to address points. We're happy to check or re-check a specific address. Please contact the Business Administrator at 978-632-1000 to arrange for this measurement. The Business Administrator, in conjunction with the Gardner Police Department, will check the distance along with any safety concerns.
Eligible students may be dropped off at a different location only with written permission of a parent or guardian. Parents should present a note to the school principal when this becomes necessary.
Buses are utilized on a "tiered" basis, meaning that buses drop off children at one school, then may proceed to another school or schools. If you happen to see a bus between these various drop-off times, it may appear that it's not being used to full capacity.
Drivers inspect the interior of the bus after each route. Drivers are instructed to keep all found articles of unknown origin on board the bus at least one day. Articles may be claimed directly from the driver or you may contact First Student at 978-630-3860.
Seat belts on school buses are not required equipment. School buses utilize the "compartmentalization" concept to insure student safety. Since the mid-70's the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has determined that this approach to student safety is the most practical for school buses. Compartmentalization is an arrangement whereby seats are placed close together to absorb the energy of a child's body thrown against it. Additional padding, higher seat backs, frame construction, and anchoring requirements make compartmentalization the accepted industry standard.
Efforts are currently underway to revisit the seat belt issue on a national scale. Testing is currently being done to determine what the next generation of child restraints for school buses might be.
Under certain circumstances, seat belts are utilized in Special Education vehicles.
Please call the school principal.
Please call the Special Education Department at 978-630-4076. They will contact the vendor to arrange for special needs transportation. Also, please call the Special Education Department for any changes (for example, child is sick and won't be attending, change in pick-up or drop-off location, change in personnel authorized to meet the student, etc.).
Yes, all drivers are required to maintain in good standing a commercial driver's license (CDL) with school bus endorsement.
Yes, by law it is required on a semi-annual basis that all students be instructed in the proper way to evacuate a school bus in an emergency situation. Drills are performed on each route in the early fall and late spring of each school year. Drivers are trained in the proper use of emergency exits and procedures.