(Various Forms for Parents to Download)
EAST RAMAPO CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
Long before most of us are awake, the school day is beginning for the East Ramapo Transportation Department.
As the sun rises over the horizon, East Ramapo’s bus drivers start their day by conducting pre-trip inspections of each of their vehicles. It is only 6:00 AM, but they are beginning a day that will extend until well after the sun has set.
The first buses pull out shortly before 6:30AM to begin picking up high school students throughout the 30 square miles that make up the East Ramapo Central School District. They continue running throughout the day, picking up and delivering children to one of the District’s fifteen public schools, or one of the dozens of private schools. The entire process is then reversed as the students return home.
Given the changing weather, heavy traffic conditions, and numerous schools with multiple arrivals and dismissals, it is easy to see the complexities that the Transportation Department deals with every day of every school year as they safely transport our students.
East Ramapo Central School District’s 30 square miles encompasses the South Central portion of Rockland County and includes the towns of Spring Valley, Monsey and portions of Pomona, Suffern, Nanuet, New City and Pearl River.
The District first opened its doors in 1952, serving 2,200 students. The student population continues to grow. At the start of 2004/05 school year, the Transportation Department accommodates the busing needs of more than 25,000 students.
As the District has changed, the Transportation Department has remained a reliable part of the educational support system. East Ramapo owns and operates a fleet of 90 buses, and is housed at their Maintenance and parking facility on New Hempstead Road. East Ramapo also contracts with Chestnut Ridge Transportation and Student Bus Company to assist with this monumental task. Each Contractor maintains their own facilities to house and maintain their large fleets.
The District and its Contractors have a bus replacement program which was started several years ago to provide for the replacement of aging buses with safer, fuel-efficient, and more reliable new buses. These new buses reflect the continuing efforts of the District to ensure that the school bus is the safest vehicle in the country. The New York State Department of Transportation oversees school bus construction standards and modifications, school bus inspections (every six months or less), school bus accident investigations and school bus labor hours.
Concern for the safety of our children can be found in the construction of the school bus with its high back seats and familiar blinking lights. East Ramapo buses include stop arms that extend out from the driver’s side of the bus and combine with red-flashing lights and stop sign to alert drivers in front and behind the school bus.
THE ROLE OF THE STUDENT
Safety aboard the bus begins with the student. Certain basis rules of conduct combined with the use of common sense are a must to assure a safe ride on the bus. Students should be aware of all safety rules including those posted inside the bus. Please take time to read the following rules and follow them.
“DON’T LOSE YOUR RIDING PRIVILEGE!”
FOLLOW THESE RULES
New York State law and the need for safety make it necessary to restrict the size of objects (i.e. musical instruments) that can be transported on the bus. Please check with the main office before bringing such objects on the bus.
Buses are now equipped with video cameras that have proven to be very effective in identifying students who behave inappropriately. Parents may be shown the video tape in the presence of school officials to review their child’s behavior.
ROLE OF PARENT/GUARDIAN
Parents and guardians are an important part of the smooth operation of the East Ramapo Transportation System. You can help promote and maintain safety in many different ways. These are just a few:
Instruct children not to get off the bus unless it is their stop. If the driver misses their stop, child should notify driver and they will be returned to designated bus stop as soon as possible. This also applies if child is on wrong bus.
PARENTS – PLEASE HELP US TEACH YOUR CHILD BUS SAFETY.
HERE IS A “BIRD’S-EYE” VIEW OF THE BUS. SEE THE DANGER ZONE ALL AROUND THE BUS? IF YOU CAN TOUCH THE BUS, YOU ARE TOO CLOSE!!!
MOST INJURIES INVOLVING SCHOOL BUSES OCCUR OUTSIDE THE BUS AND BY OWN BUS.
Even though there are mirrors, the driver can’t see people close to the bus. Because the bus is so big, car drivers can’t see them either. Anyone inside the ‘Danger Zone’ is in GREAT DANGER! DO YOUR PART TO MAKE SURE EVERYONE GETS ON SAFELY:
1) ALWAYS STAY OUT OF THE SCHOOL BUS DANGER ZONES.
2) USE THE “TEN FOOT RULE” IF YOU HAVE TO CROSS THE STREET WHEN GETTING ON OR OFF THE BUS.
3) ALWAYS STAY IN YOUR SEAT ON THE BUS, UNLESS YOU ARE GETTING OFF THE BUS AND THE BUS IS FULLY STOPPED.
4) KNOW HOW TO EVACUATE THE BUS IN AN EMERGENCY.
BUS SAFETY IS A TEAM EFFORT OF BUS DRIVER, STUDENT, THE MOTORING PUBLIC, AND THE PARENTS, IF YOU HAVE BUS SAFETY CONCERNS, CALL THE DISTRICT TRANSPORTATION OFFICE AT 577-6490.
ABOUT OUR BUS DRIVERS
All this travel is a reminder of the importance of the bus driver in East Ramapo. School bus drivers transport the most precious cargo in the world! The District’s drivers hold an outstanding record for safety. Therefore, candidates for this position must undergo intensive scrutiny and training.
East Ramapo drivers all hold a Commercial Drivers License, Class B or C with a Passenger Endorsement. The CDL program began as a way to sharpen the skills and knowledge of commercial vehicle drivers, including bus drivers, and provide higher standards of safety and training. Under the program, drivers must score at least 80 percent on a 115-question written examination. All new drivers must also take the Commercial Drivers License Road Test conducted by a NY State Department of Motor Vehicles Inspector.
The East Ramapo Transportation Department has school bus driver safety instructors. These instructors go into the schools to teach the students about school bus safety. Students are taught both in the classroom and through hands-on instruction on a school bus.
Bus Passes will be sent to the home for every child eligible for bus transportation. The usual arrival time of the bus passes to the homes are about two weeks before school for private school students, and about one week before school for public school students. If an error has occurred in the bus pass information, contact the Transportation Department at 577-6490.
Child care request forms must be submitted to the Transportation Department by August 1st. Each request will be reviewed by the Transportation Staff and must fall within the specified guidelines for approval. Your bus pass received at the end of August should reflect the child care information. Late requests may take a week (or more) to process.
CLOSINGS AND DELAYS
Winter weather or unexpected emergencies can create situations during the year requiring early dismissal and/or the closing of school. Weather conditions are the most obvious of situations. When poor weather threatens, you should tune into one of the many radio stations that carry closing and dismissal announcements. Please do not call the Transportation Department or radio stations directly. It is important that the phone lines remain open to provide efficient communications.
A DIFFICULT DECISION
The decision to delay or close school is one of the most difficult and most carefully thought out in any school district. The complexity of East Ramapo with its variety of different types of roads and terrain, requires a careful process be followed whenever winter weather poses a threat.
The Transportation Director makes recommendations to the Superintendent of Schools who then makes the final decision. The decision to delay or close school is always made with the entire district in mind. The safety of our children is the primary consideration.
If possible, the initial decision is made by 5:30AM and radio stations are notified. The objective is to have the message on the air and the website updated by 6:00AM. A delayed opening often is the first step taken when hazardous weather conditions threaten while the weather situation continues to be monitored.
STAY TUNED DURING BAD WEATHER
When a delayed opening or a school closing becomes necessary, the District begins a notification process that includes a number of avenues. For parents and guardians, the primary method of notification is the area radio stations. The stations are notified as soon as decisions are made and then make the announcements promptly. In addition, the District's main webpage will be updated with the most up to date information as soon as the decision has being made. We will also post all closings and cancellations on www.cancellations.com.
Listen to these following stations for information:
WRCR (1300AM), WFAS (1230AM/103.9FM/106.3 FM) WBNR (1260AM) WHUD(100.7FM), WLNA (1420AM), WRTN (93.5 FM), WSPK(104.7 FM) or WVOX (1460 AM).
Emergency situations (problems dealing with heating, electricity, or water failure are impossible to predict. The staff does everything possible to notify you in advance to avoid students being left unsupervised or locked out of their homes.
It is important that you establish with your child the procedures you would like followed if he or she comes home and finds no one there. Your child should know in advance about telephoning you, using a hidden key, or staying with an approved friend or neighbor.
Check with your individual school to determine the specific procedures (phone chains, etc.) used to notify parents and guardians in case of an emergency. Please cooperate with your schools in providing emergency information at the beginning of each school year and whenever your information changes.