Bus Barn

Gautier Bus Barn 522-8828

Pascagoula Bus Barn 938-6565

Our Philosophy

All students have the right to a safe and pleasant trip to and from school. We believe all students can behave appropriately and safely while riding on a school bus. We cannot tolerate any student interfering with drivers and paraprofessionals doing their jobs, and we continuously work toward protecting all passengers’ right to a safe ride.

Our Facility

The Transportation Department facility is located at 1102 Dupont Street in Pascagoula, two blocks north of the Administrative Services Center. Constructed in 1989, it is a 5,400 sq. ft. facility, accommodating a 3-bay service department for maintenance of all school district-owned vehicles. Full time staff includes the director of transportation, coordinator of buses, a secretary, and three automotive technicians. A satellite bus compound is located adjacent to Singing River Elementary in Gautier. The Transportation facility is where the ride for 3000 students begins and ends each day.

Driver Training

Prospective employees must possess a commercial drivers license with a passenger and school bus endorsement to be eligible to attend a bus driver certification school. Certification schools are taught by personnel from the State Department of Education and consist of classroom instruction as well as behind-the-wheel time. Trainees are instructed in student management, pre-trip inspections, loading/unloading procedures, State/District regulations, and emergency procedures. Before a properly licensed/certified person can drive a school bus, he/she must pass a D.O.T physical, a pre-employment drug/alcohol test administered by the district’s contracting vendor and be fingerprinted so as to secure a background check on them. All school bus drivers attend a minimum of 8 hours safety-related in-service each school year.

Director of Transportation

Lance Bolen

Passenger Training

Seventy-five percent of all school bus fatalities occur in “The Danger Zone”-- the ten feet immediately adjacent to the front, rear, and both sides of a school bus—during the loading and unloading process. Nearly two-thirds of the victims are run over by his/her own school bus; the rest are struck and killed by motorists who fail to stop for the flashing red lights on the bus. Typically, the victim is 5 to 8 years of age and has stopped to retrieve a dropped paper or book, or has run after the bus because he’s left something on board. Safe loading/unloading techniques are heavily stressed in driver training, but nothing can take the place of parental guidance.

How Parents Can Help

There a several ways parents and guardians can help ensure a safe ride to and from school for their children.

Review the Rules—Rules for safe transportation are discussed in your child’s student handbook. Some of the safest things your child can do are: 1. Stay seated. 2. Keep their hands, feet, body, and objects to themselves. 3. No swearing, rude gestures, or cruel teasing. 4. Talk in a classroom voice. 5. Follow the driver’s directions. 6. Stay out of “The Danger Zone”.

Read Our Philosophy—Read, with your child, our department’s philosophy as it appears at the beginning of this homepage. Remind them that in Mississippi riding a school bus is not a right, but a privilege they must earn by behaving properly.

Reinforce Safe Riding Habits—Encourage your child to behave properly on his/her bus ride. Imagine yourself turning your back on 60 or 65 students while maneuvering heavy equipment through traffic, road construction, and adverse weather conditions. Ask yourself how you would want them to behave.

Know the Law—Mississippi law requires motorist to stop for a school bus when the overhead red lights are flashing. Bus drivers activate the amber warning lights 100 feet before a bus stop. The red lights are automatically activated when the driver opens the door to load or unload passengers. Please be alert to these lights, particularly in congested school zone areas. Also, please observe the school bus loading zones at our schools and park elsewhere so the buses can get in to serve your children.

Discourage Unsafe Items—State Statute 37-41-1 empowers the State Department of Education to set forth rules and regulations pertaining to school bus operations. As part of these regulations, students shall not transport items, materials, or equipment that in any way endangers the lives, health, or safety of the passengers. To comply with this requirement, items such as glass bottles or jars, chemicals, flammable liquids, objects with sharp or dangerous edges, oversize objects that can’t be secured, or any other item that may be hazardous in the event of an emergency stop or accident, will not be transported. Please inform your child of these requirements, and make other transportation arrangements if items such as those mentioned here must be transported to or from school.

Encourage Respect for the Equipment—Each year we have to spend an excessive amount of your tax dollars to repair school bus damage resulting from vandalism that occurs enroute. This includes graffiti, broken windows and most of all from seats being cut. Encourage your child to take care of the equipment.

Get Informed and Involved—Transportation department personnel are available to visit any group interested in gaining more insight into our department’s operation and the pupil transportation industry in general. If you like, tour our facilities. Remember that our purpose is to provide safe and quality transportation for all eligible district students. Please call us at 938-6565 with any comments, concerns, or questions you might have.

Terminology

Route—A series of bus stops. For the 2007-08, there are 82 daily school bus routes that serviced the district’s two high schools, three middle schools, eleven elementary schools, one exceptional and one alternative school. Most buses run an elementary and either a middle or high school route, morning and afternoon.

Transportable—Students who are eligible for bus transportation. To be eligible for bus transportation, a student must reside one mile or more from the school assigned. Parents who have their child transferred to a school other than the one assigned relinquish the privilege to bus transportation. Parents of students whose place of residence changes after initial assignment should take two proofs of the new residence to their child’s school office. The school office will call the Transportation Office for a new assignment if need be. Transportation to/from the new residence may not be available depending on the current school assignment. If your transportable child would like to ride home with a friend or on a bus other than his, or if a non-transportable child would like to do the same, this can be arranged if (1) space is available and (2) you make the request in writing through the building principal to the Transportation Office prior to the time/date such transportation is needed. For security reasons, no telephone requests can be accepted.

Bus Identification Numbers—Each bus in our fleet has a number painted on the bus exterior. These numbers are used for maintenance, inventory, and identification only. In addition to numbers printed on the bus, buses which have elementary routes have a picture of an animal located in the front student window beside the entrance door. This helps lower elementary students identify their bus.

Bus Assignment—During registration prior to the opening of school, a map and roster of stop locations/times will be available at your child’s school of assignment. If your child is eligible for transportation, find the bus number, closest stop to your residence and the corresponding stop time. Bus stops are located so that your child will not have to walk farther than one-fourth of a mile. Please have your child at the bus stop at least five minutes prior to the scheduled stop time. If you are unsure as to your child’s eligibility, you may contact the Transportation Office. Additionally, if you move into the area or register your child late, you will need to have your child’s school office contact the Transportation Office for a bus assignment.