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This educational module presents an introduction to the planning concepts associated with public education land use and transportation in the United States.

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Presentation on theme: "This educational module presents an introduction to the planning concepts associated with public education land use and transportation in the United States."— Presentation transcript:

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2 This educational module presents an introduction to the planning concepts associated with public education land use and transportation in the United States. The module focuses on the interdisciplinary issue referred to as school siting. The module also articulates challenges and best practices within school siting and transportation planning and presents a selection of resources intended to aid planners and policy makers considering strategies for implementing school siting concepts. Overview | School Siting | School Travel Costs | Cost Calculator | Resources Overview

3 Policy and Planning The school travel implications of where a school is built involve public educational agencies, communities and families through school travel mode decisions and associated costs. These costs include: 1.The cost of operating and maintaining a public school transportation system 2.The cost of construction and acquiring critical system infrastructure, such as driveways at a school and buses for pupil transportation 3.The private costs of school travel, like the value of parental drive time. Overview | School Siting | School Travel Costs | Cost Calculator | Resources

4 Learning Objectives By the end of this module, participants will be able to: 1.Define school siting and connect the theoretic principles of school siting to practiceDefine school siting and connect the theoretic principles of school siting to practice 2.Explain how school siting affects school transportation costsExplain how school siting affects school transportation costs 3.Identify examples of how school siting principles manifestIdentify examples of how school siting principles manifest 4.Effectively use the school transportation cost calculatorEffectively use the school transportation cost calculator 5.Connect to resources that help implement school siting strategiesConnect to resources that help implement school siting strategies Overview | School Siting | School Travel Costs | Cost Calculator | Resources

5 Schools as Community Centers Schools serve as institutions associated with educating a community’s children; in so doing they also service as anchors within a community. According to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, features of “community-centered schools” include: -Use of existing public and private infrastructure and buildings whenever possible -Shared use of space for both educational and recreational activities in the community -Congruent with the design and culture of the local neighborhood community -Present students with an opportunity to actively travel (i.e. walk or bike) to school. Overview | School Siting | School Travel Costs | Cost Calculator | Resources

6 School Siting: Concept School siting, or the physical location and characteristics of a school site, has implications for school families, communities and public agencies. School siting is a topic that involves a number of planning professions, including education facility planners, school transportation planners, land use planners, municipal and regional transportation planners, and real estate development professionals. Overview | School Siting | School Travel Costs | Cost Calculator | Resources

7 School Siting: Concept While policy and planning research have evaluated elements of school siting and residential development, particularly the relationship between school proximity and home value, less is known of how the locational decision of where to build a school influences transportation choices and costs for families, local communities, and public agencies. This educational module highlights the implications of school siting for planning practice, with a focus on the policy mechanisms that influence where a school site is selected and barriers and opportunities to coordinated school site development between public agencies at various levels and of different disciplines. Overview | School Siting | School Travel Costs | Cost Calculator | Resources

8 School Siting: Concept The construction of a new public school requires the selection of a physical land parcel, or site, on which to build the school. The process of selecting a site on which to construct a school includes many factors – the amount of time required to plan and build the school; the projected district demographic trends relevant to the time of project completion; the availability of public funds to construct the school from either state or local school district levels; and the availability of land on which to construct the school. As a result, school siting involves a number of public and private actors, including school district elected and appointed officials, land use and transportation planners for both districts and local governments, private residential developers and individual property owners. Overview | School Siting | School Travel Costs | Cost Calculator | Resources

9 School Siting: Planning & Policy Impacts The potential implications of where a school is built span numerous realms of public and private life. School location can influence local residential property values (NAR, 2011), rates of walking and bicycling to school, and even the cost of transporting students to school (McDonald et al., 2014).NAR, 2011McDonald et al., 2014 As a result, the geographic relationship between where schools are located and other community land uses, such as residential neighborhoods, has gained considerable public policy attention in recent years. Policy initiatives looking at school siting issues include the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Smart Growth America and Community Schools, as well as federal programs like Safe Routes to School through the U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. National Trust for Historic PreservationSmart Growth AmericaCommunity SchoolsSafe Routes to School U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Overview | School Siting | School Travel Costs | Cost Calculator | Resources

10 School Siting: A Role for Planners The issue of school siting connects multiple institutions, both private and public, across different realms of the built environment, strategic educational leadership, and government sector, including municipal, county and state policy actors. The physical location and connectivity of schools directly involves planners via the procedural approach of engaging with and coordinating stakeholders in the participatory planning process while also introducing demographic, land use, and economic modeling projections into the decision making process. As a result, planners may introduce and present supporting documentation to the rational decision making process while also facilitating the participation of stakeholders in the school site selection and development process. Overview | School Siting | School Travel Costs | Cost Calculator | Resources

11 School Siting: Impacts on School Travel The physical location of a school in relation to residential developments can directly impact the distance to school for students and accessibility between a child’s home and their school. The further a school is from a residence, the more likely that a student will require motorized travel school (i.e. public school bus or private passenger vehicle) (McDonald et al., 2011).McDonald et al., 2011 When K-8 schools are located near or within residential developments, the distance to school can be relatively short. For example, in 1969, 41% of students between kindergarten and 8th grade lived within one mile of school. The close proximity of students living near school had consequences for school travel and contributed to high rates of walking and bicycling to school; in 1969, 89% of children who lived within one mile of school walked or biked to school (Beschen, 1972).Beschen, 1972 Overview | School Siting | School Travel Costs | Cost Calculator | Resources

12 School Siting: History The distance between schools and local residential communities have historically been influenced by the neighborhood design and real estate development patterns in the U.S. Neighborhood planner Clarence Perry played a significant role in the traditional physical placement of schools in the center of neighborhoods and communities for residential neighborhoods in the U.S. Perry, drawing from the pragmatic aspirations of educational philosopher John Dewey, saw schools as central to planned urban life and cohesive communities. Through his position within the Regional Plan Association (RPA), Perry was able to influence the development of thousands of residential developments in the U.S. – placing schools in the very center of the neighborhood unit model. As a result, residential developments that accompanied American industrialization and middle class homeownership often had schools in the center of the community (Gillette, 2010).Gillette, 2010 Overview | School Siting | School Travel Costs | Cost Calculator | Resources

13 School Siting: History However, the population and policy trends in the U.S. following WWII introduced several important shifts in the geography of schools. ■First, school enrollment policies began to reflect court-mandated integration, which often included intra-district school busing (Gans, Dentler & Davidoff, 1964).Gans, Dentler & Davidoff, 1964 ■Second, maintenance and repair costs of older schools could be costly; some districts decided to build new schools rather than renovate existing schools (Council of Educational Facility Planners International, 2004).Council of Educational Facility Planners International, 2004 ■Third, an emphasis on larger campuses and learning environments necessitated the construction of new schools on larger parcels of land. ■Fourth, decisions on where to build new schools were guided by two related factors: the minimum acreage requirements legislated in many states and the lower cost of land parcels on the development edge of many communities (McDonald, 2010).McDonald, 2010 Overview | School Siting | School Travel Costs | Cost Calculator | Resources

14 School Siting: Site Size and Distance to School School population size and location is directly related to school travel; the larger the school enrollment, the more land that is required and the larger the school catchment areas, which corresponds with longer distances from home to school. These trends in school policy and construction are reflected in school travel rates based on the 2009 National Household Travel Survey (NHTS). Of those children that lived within one mile of school in 2009, only 35% walked or biked to school compared to the 89% in 1969 (McDonald et al., 2011).McDonald et al., 2011 Overview | School Siting | School Travel Costs | Cost Calculator | Resources

15 School Siting: Minimum Acreage Requirement The size of the school site, which refers specifically to school’s land acreage, impacts location of the school site and the distances from residences to the school entrance. Typically, the larger the school’s acreage the less pedestrian-connected residential units will be located within a walking distance of the school (McDonald, 2010).McDonald, 2010 Correspondingly, state laws articulating minimum acreage requirements for schools based on per-pupil student ratio calculations can constrain the locational options for the construction of schools, and thus decrease the percentage of students who have potential pedestrian access to the school. Minimum acreage requirements, or “guidelines”, require a minimum school footprint. For example, state legislature may require new school construction to occur on a school site with five acres plus an additional acre for each 100 children (Georgia Department of Education, 2012).Georgia Department of Education, 2012 Overview | School Siting | School Travel Costs | Cost Calculator | Resources

16 School Siting: Renovation / New Construction States may also require school districts to build newly constructed schools rather than renovate older schools that often sit on smaller school sites embedded within neighborhoods and communities. However, when considering the full social costs over the life of a school, it is often more expensive to build a new school rather than renovate an older school, in part due to the additional costs of school travel associated with schools built farther away from residential developments. Overview | School Siting | School Travel Costs | Cost Calculator | Resources

17 School Transportation Costs Previous assessments of the full costs of transportation have identified three types of costs: public, private, and external (Anderson & McCullough, 2000; Delucchi, 1996). For public and private costs, analysts distinguish capital costs from on-going operation and maintenance expenses.Anderson & McCullough, 2000Delucchi, 1996 For example, Anderson and McCullough’s 2000 inventory of public capital costs for the Minneapolis-St. Paul regional light rail system included the cost of land acquisition along the rail corridor and the light rail cars used for the light rail system. In a similar full cost analysis study, Delucchi and Murphy (1998) included the cost of acquiring land to build off-street parking in their transportation system cost evaluation in the United States.1998 This section reviews the cost categories used in other public, non-school transportation system evaluations in order to consider school travel cost elements that would be relevant and necessary for a full cost inventory. Overview | School Siting | School Travel Costs | Cost Calculator | Resources

18 School Transportation Costs: Public Costs The public costs of transportation systems include capital costs and the ongoing costs of operating and maintaining a transportation system for government agencies. ■Public capital costs may include the marginal or total cost of land required for a project, road and highway construction associated with material and labor, off-street parking facility construction costs, and the costs of acquiring transportation system components, such as buses and light rail cars. ■Public operating and maintenance expenses include road pavement repair and maintenance costs, the labor costs of collecting highway user fees, the cost of subsidies to transit service, parking attendant salary and benefits, the salary and benefits of transportation police, fire and emergency protection, and the cost of licensing drivers. ■Collectively, public capital and operating costs are substantial. In their cost estimation of the Minneapolis-St. Paul transportation system, Anderson and McCullough (2000) estimated that the annual cost of constructing and maintaining the Minneapolis-St. Paul street and highway system was between $1,340 and $1,735 million (1998 USD) and the cost of transit between $245 and $270 million (1998 USD) annually.2000 Overview | School Siting | School Travel Costs | Cost Calculator | Resources

19 School Transportation Costs: Private Costs Private sector, or internal, costs represent expenditures by private citizens who are users of the transportation system. Private expenditures include out-of-pocket expenditures on vehicle ownership, maintenance, insurances, fuel, and other similar costs, but also include the value of personal travel time. The inclusion of in-vehicle travel time (IVTT) in the evaluation of transportation project proposals can improve the accuracy of total transportation system cost estimates (Wardman, 2012). Meta-analyses reviewing IVT estimates suggest that longer commuting trips are more costly than comparable shorter trips for leisure (Shires & De Jong, 2009; Wardman, 1998). In their evaluation of the Minneapolis-St. Paul transportation system, Anderson and McCullough (2000) included monetary estimates for the value of commuting time travel using hourly wage estimates for the Minneapolis region. These hourly wage rates were then discounted based on trip type (i.e. commuting) and applied to IVTT estimates for drivers in the transportation system.Wardman, 2012Shires & De Jong, 2009Wardman, 19982000 In addition to the value of in-vehicle travel time and vehicle maintenance, Anderson and McCullough included the internal costs of residential parking provision and personal costs of traffic crashes in their private user cost estimates. Overview | School Siting | School Travel Costs | Cost Calculator | Resources

20 Cost Factors: Built Environment Several local built environment characteristics influence the overall cost of transporting students to school. These qualities include the physical distance from home to school for students as a function of land use; the design and orientation of the school campus in relation to nearby roadways; and the safety and connectivity of routes between home and school for child pedestrians and bicyclists (Saelens & Handy, 2008).Saelens & Handy, 2008 Overview | School Siting | School Travel Costs | Cost Calculator | Resources

21 Cost Factors: Built Environment Distance to school Active school travel research indicates that the distance from home to school is often cited by parents as a barrier to walking and bicycling to school (McDonald, 2005). With respect to distances from home to school considered reasonable for walking or bicycling, research also indicates that families living within one mile of school are more likely to allow their child to actively commute (Schlossberg et al., 2006). McDonald, 2005Schlossberg et al., 2006 Many states also maintain minimum distances to qualify for public school busing; in some states minimum distances from home to school can be up to two miles (Salvesen, Sachs & Engelbrecht, 2006). The distance from home to school is thus a key determinant of public and private school travel mode choices available and corresponding costs for schools and families.Salvesen, Sachs & Engelbrecht, 2006 Overview | School Siting | School Travel Costs | Cost Calculator | Resources

22 Cost Factors: Built Environment Distance to School The physical location of a school influences the distance between home and school for families and school districts. The closer a school is located to residential and neighborhood developments, the more likely that children may walk or bicycle and the less distance to be covered by public school buses, if at all (Kerr et al., 2006; McDonald et al., 2011). Similarly, homes built near an existing school may afford additional students the choice to actively travel to school. However, schools developed in areas with low residential density can also increase the likelihood of student busing due to lack of pedestrian connectivity. Notably, the definition of distance to school may vary, as some perceive the distance as a direct “as the crow flies” calculation, while others may use actual transportation network distances.Kerr et al., 2006McDonald et al., 2011 Overview | School Siting | School Travel Costs | Cost Calculator | Resources

23 Cost Factors: Built Environment Distance to School Choosing where to build a school is often a complex decision involving a variety of stakeholders – educational leadership and school board members, district facility and transportation planners, local elected officials and planners, developers, and citizens. Due to the nature of these collaborative decisions, the process of selecting a school site may bring together a variety of priorities, of which public school transportation planning is only one set of considerations. For example, a site may be selected for its potential to spur local land development. Developers play a heavy hand in school site selection, as local schools are a critical element in market-based residential property values (NAR, 2011). As the anticipated need for a new school approaches, difficult choices may arise between siting a school on land made available by a developer and land that the district either has, or would like to have, under control. In some instances, developers and school districts may even directly compete for land.NAR, 2011 Overview | School Siting | School Travel Costs | Cost Calculator | Resources

24 Cost Factors: Built Environment Accessible School Site Design The physical design of a school and campus can further influence the cost of pupil transportation through facilitation and accommodation of different public, private, and active school travel modes. School site design can both reinforce the district’s expectations of school travel and render other modes of school travel, often walking and bicycling, unviable (Ewing, Schroeer & Greene, 2004).Ewing, Schroeer & Greene, 2004 Such site design features include the physical proximity of the school entrance to adjacent streets, pedestrian connectivity to the surrounding community’s transportation network, bicycle racks and even parking space availability for school staff, students and visitors. Taken together, these design features of a school site reflect the anticipated travel modes that the school community will utilize in getting children to school. Overview | School Siting | School Travel Costs | Cost Calculator | Resources

25 Setbacks Some school campuses are designed with a physical setback from the roadway that adds distance to the route to school for student pedestrians and bicyclists (Robertson, 2010). The rationale for these setbacks is often logistical, as increased entrance lengths are needed to accommodate private automobiles dropping off and picking up student passengers.Robertson, 2010 However, setbacks present a challenge to students walking or bicycling to school and influence transportation costs in several ways. Firstly, any distance from the public roadway to the entrance of the school requires a paved surface for buses and passenger vehicles; the further the distance the more surface area and paving that will be required. Furthermore, school setbacks add to the state’s minimum distance allowed for busing. Increases in the walking distance to school serve as a deterrent to cost-efficient active school travel and can increase the total cost of school travel. Overview | School Siting | School Travel Costs | Cost Calculator | Resources Cost Factors: Built Environment Accessible School Site Design

26 Active Travel Connectivity The site design decision to provide a pedestrian connection from the school entrance to nearby roadways and sidewalks is an important design element of the school campus and a requisite for active school travel. School campuses without sidewalks that connect the school entrance to nearby pedestrian infrastructure present significant safety challenges to students walking to and from school. A school lacking these design features, or one offering an uncomfortable pedestrian or bicycle environment, poses a potential increase in school bus and passenger vehicle ridership rates. Overview | School Siting | School Travel Costs | Cost Calculator | Resources Cost Factors: Built Environment Accessible School Site Design

27 Cost Factors: Built Environment Routes Between Home and School Incomplete and unsafe pedestrian and bicycle routes between a child’s home and the school campus can limit the mode choices available for transporting students to school. The cost-efficient choice to walk or bicycle to school for a family living within a reasonable distance may be moderated by whether sidewalk segments are connected to one another, the condition of the infrastructure, and the safety of crossing streets (EPA, 2003). This can be especially true for families with young children, who are only beginning to develop the ability to navigate their local neighborhood environment and make spatial judgments, such as the speed of oncoming traffic (Connelly et al., 2003).EPA, 2003Connelly et al., 2003 Overview | School Siting | School Travel Costs | Cost Calculator | Resources

28 Cost Factors: Built Environment Routes Between Home and School Network Connectivity School site selection and design influences the viability and connectivity of the route from home to school. In many communities, walking or bicycling to school may not be a viable option if the school is built on a site without surrounding connections that support pedestrian and bicycle modes – regardless of distance. For schools in communities without completed pedestrian and bicycle networks, incomplete and unsafe routes necessitate higher rates of public bus ridership and private passenger vehicle drop-off and pick-up (McMillan, 2007). Higher rates of motorized school travel can lead to higher transportation costs due to the built environment accommodation for those modes and the operational expense of equipment, staff, and gasoline.McMillan, 2007 Overview | School Siting | School Travel Costs | Cost Calculator | Resources

29 Cost Factors: Built Environment Routes Between Home and School Sidewalk Conditions The presence, maintenance, and connectivity of sidewalks are essential for safe walking routes to school (Boarnet et al., 2005). The building, repair, and planning of pedestrian sidewalks are responsibilities that sit with municipal and school transportation planners, as well as local departments of public works. Funding for new sidewalks is often tied to the building permit process associated with new developments; funds may also come from local, state, and federal sources. The maintenance of sidewalks usually sits with local departments of public works. Funding for sidewalk maintenance may be secured in several ways; from specific bond-referendums, to local transportation budget allocations, to local matching programs pairing contributions from local governments and organized property owners (Ehrenfeucht & Loukaitou-Sideris, 2010).Boarnet et al., 2005Ehrenfeucht & Loukaitou-Sideris, 2010 Overview | School Siting | School Travel Costs | Cost Calculator | Resources

30 Cost Factors: Built Environment Routes Between Home and School Crossing the Street The existence and condition of local sidewalk networks help to ensure a walkable route from home to school for students; however, routes crossing heavily trafficked streets present a difficult and potentially dangerous environment for students to navigate. The presence of pedestrian safety infrastructure and design features, such as pedestrian activated signals and rectangular rapid flash beacons, can increase the visibility and safety of pedestrians (Retting, Ferguson & Mccarty, 2003). School crossing guards present an opportunity to ensure an adult presence at pedestrian crossings and assist students in safely navigating their local environment (Ahlport et al., 2008). However, pedestrian safety investments are also expensive to install and maintain. In addition, crossing guard funding is increasingly difficult to secure, and many schools that once used crossing guards to ensure route safety for children no longer have the means to do so. Retting, Ferguson & Mccarty, 2003Ahlport et al., 2008 Overview | School Siting | School Travel Costs | Cost Calculator | Resources

31 Cost Factors: Built Environment Routes Between Home and School Bicycle Infrastructure Bicycles present another cost-efficient opportunity for school children to actively commute to school; bikes have the potential to expand the reasonable active school travel radius beyond one mile (Schlossberg et al., 2006). In addition, the bicycling infrastructure necessary to ensure a safe route from neighborhood residential developments to local schools can also be integrated as on-street design features, such as shared lane markings and bicycle lanes. Thus, the financial impacts can be less than the cost of new sidewalk construction. However, due to limited protection offered by shared roadways, the safety of local bicycle routes is dependent on the speed of vehicles that student bicyclists may ride with.Schlossberg et al., 2006 Overview | School Siting | School Travel Costs | Cost Calculator | Resources

32 Cost Factors: Education Policy Several aspects of federal, state and local educational policy can influence school transportation costs. ■Each state has their own educational funding structure and reimbursement criteria to determine which students qualify for publicly subsidized school busing. ■In addition, school enrollment boundaries influence the structure, distance and operational costs of school bus networks. ■Finally, equitable access to education, while vital to a civil society, can also increase school transportation costs via increased distances due to bused integration and accommodation of students with diverse special needs. Together, these policies and legal considerations convey the landscape in which school transportation planners operate in an attempt to optimize transportation route efficiency and minimize capital and operational costs. Overview | School Siting | School Travel Costs | Cost Calculator | Resources

33 Cost Factors: Education Policy Funding Structure Traditionally, state departments of education provide a large portion of the funding for busing students to school districts. Local tax revenues also contribute to the cost of busing students to school. However, the funding structure, formulas, and criteria for pupil bus service eligibility can vary from state to state. State variations in funding structure and bus service eligibility criteria influence district transportation networks and the overall cost of pupil transportation in several respects. Overview | School Siting | School Travel Costs | Cost Calculator | Resources

34 Cost Factors: Education policy Funding Structure Variations in the structure of state funding for education lead to different levels of connection between the collection and distribution of funds. For example, the state of Florida collects and redistributes funds to local districts for busing in one lump sum, which includes funds for standard busing, hazardous busing, and special needs busing (F.S. Section 1011.68). While the allocations formula accounts for all busing categories, local decision makers may only be aware of the amount of the lump sum allocation for district school transportation. Thus, district allocations derived using funding formulas may be decoupled from local school transportation decisions. Overview | School Siting | School Travel Costs | Cost Calculator | Resources

35 Cost Factors: Education Policy Funding Structure Minimum Distance for School Bus Eligibility Most states maintain a minimum distance from school at which students must live in order to be eligible to receive public school bus service. Minimum distances for eligibility are usually set by the state legislation authorizing education funds for school busing. For example, students living in the state of North Carolina must live at a distance of one and one-half miles or greater from home to school in order to qualify for state-funded busing (G.S. 115C-242). Comparatively, the minimum distance for school bus eligibility in Florida is two miles (F.S. Section 1011.68). These state-level variations for minimum busing distance impact local school transportation routing decisions and the overall costs of transporting students to school. Overview | School Siting | School Travel Costs | Cost Calculator | Resources

36 Cost Factors: Education Policy Funding Structure Minimum Distance for School Bus Eligibility State departments of education calculate and enforce eligible minimum busing distances differently. In some states, the minimum eligible distance is determined using geospatial data. These distances may use aerial distance calculations that do not account for the actual road network distance from home to school. School district calculations for route efficiency and reimbursement may also include students living within the minimum busing eligibility distance. Relatedly, state monitoring and enforcement of minimum busing distances is an administrative task that requires time and funding; in the absence of these it is at the school district’s discretion as to how to calculate student bus service needs. Overall, the method used to calculate these distances plays an important role in determining student bus eligibility and the corresponding cost of pupil transportation. Overview | School Siting | School Travel Costs | Cost Calculator | Resources

37 Cost Factors: Education policy Funding Structure Hazardous Busing In many states, the safety of the route to school influences school bus eligibility. For example, a child living within the minimum busing distance may be ineligible for busing using the state defined criteria; however, their route to school may cross heavily trafficked roadways and lack safe and connected pedestrian infrastructure. In instances where the route is unsafe for child pedestrians, some states permit districts to designate routes as hazardous. After identifying the route as hazardous, districts can be allocated additional funding used to bus otherwise ineligible students to school. Hazardous busing also increases transportation costs; some estimates attribute over $1 Billion annually in the U.S. to hazardous busing costs (Safe Routes to School National Partnership, 2012).Safe Routes to School National Partnership, 2012 Overview | School Siting | School Travel Costs | Cost Calculator | Resources

38 Cost Factors: Education policy Funding Structure Hazardous Busing The criterion used to designate hazardous busing varies by state and can involve discretion by district and state officials. In Illinois, for example, a hazardous route is defined when “conditions are such that walking, either to or from the school to which a pupil is assigned for attendance or to or from a pick-up point or bus stop, constitutes a serious hazard to the safety of the pupil due to vehicular traffic or rail crossings. The local school board determines what constitutes a serious safety hazard in accordance with guidelines promulgated by the Illinois Department of Transportation, in consultation with the State Superintendent of Education” (105 ILCS 5/29-3). Similarly, school district and state representatives in Florida must independently assess the hazardous condition of a route using state criteria (F.S. Section 1006.23(4)(a)1). However, Florida outlines separate criteria for routes parallel and perpendicular to roadways, with speed specific thresholds indicating hazard levels. Overview | School Siting | School Travel Costs | Cost Calculator | Resources

39 Cost Factors: Education Policy School Assignment & Enrollment Boundaries School assignment and enrollment decisions unfold on multiple scales, from state-level decisions that authorize educational funding for local education agencies to operate public primary and secondary schools in the United States, to the district-level decisions that set school enrollment boundaries. Given pupil transportation’s role in ensuring safe travel to school, the location of student homes and the school impacts the distance and cost of school travel. School assignment policies that influence the distance between home and school are essential to understanding the costs of school travel. Districts have several methods by which they may determine attendance zones. Some districts utilize a geographic assignment system that identifies school enrollment boundaries based on physical locations of family home and school. Other districts utilize non-geographic methods, based primarily on variations in curriculum, preferences of families, and diversity policy. In these instances, physical locations of family home and school are decoupled, and may result in greater commute distances. Overview | School Siting | School Travel Costs | Cost Calculator | Resources

40 Cost Factors: Education Policy School Assignment & Enrollment Boundaries Geographic Student Assignment Districts using geography to set enrollment boundaries typically assign students to the closest school based on the distance from home to school. In many states, the school district in which a family lives is the only available option for receiving public school bus service. Families living within the minimum busing distance to school are expected to assume responsibility for children’s school commute via walking, bicycling or private vehicle; students living beyond the minimum busing distance are provided public school busing. Overview | School Siting | School Travel Costs | Cost Calculator | Resources

41 Cost Factors: Education Policy School Assignment & Enrollment Boundaries Geographic Student Assignment While it may appear that family-supported transportation to school removes the burden of transport from district and state hands, districts must still accommodate families who drive their children to school. These accommodations are costly, including longer entrance driveways, wider passenger loading zones, and increased school staff to manage passenger vehicle loading and unloading. Thus, geographic assignment presents a direct approach for district staff to minimize transport expenses but also introduces indirect costs as private vehicle school travel rates continue to rise (McDonald et al., 2011).McDonald et al., 2011 Overview | School Siting | School Travel Costs | Cost Calculator | Resources

42 Cost Factors: Education Policy School Assignment & Enrollment Boundaries Non-Geographic Student Assignment School enrollment boundaries and attendance zones can also be determined by non- geographic criteria, such as school choice, magnet school opportunities, and busing- facilitated classroom integration. These non-geographic enrollment determinants have become increasingly common following the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001; school choice and magnet schools also present a more complex transportation network that decreases the likelihood of cost-efficient modes like walking and increases the overall cost of school transportation (Gorard, Fitz & Taylor, 2001; Marshall et al., 2010).Gorard, Fitz & Taylor, 2001Marshall et al., 2010 Overview | School Siting | School Travel Costs | Cost Calculator | Resources

43 Cost Factors: Education Policy Transporting Students With Special Needs Under Federal legislation, the legal requirements for providing school bus service to non- disabled students and students with physical and mental disabilities are very different. As assured by Title II of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the civil rights of individuals with physical and mental disabilities are protected to guarantee equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in employment, public accommodations, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications (Americans With Disabilities Act, 1990). These regulations cover access to all programs and services offered by the public entity. With respect to public school transportation, the ADA is particularly relevant to schools, defined as public entities, and public school transportation, a service offered by a public entity.Americans With Disabilities Act, 1990 Overview | School Siting | School Travel Costs | Cost Calculator | Resources

44 Cost Factors: Education Policy Transporting Students With Special Needs Federal regulations outlining the implementation of the 2006 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) define public school transportation using even more specific language: “School transportation includes – (i) travel to and from school and between schools; (ii) travel in and around school buildings; and (iii) specialized equipment (such as special or adapted buses, lifts, and ramps), if required to provide special transportation for a child with a disability” (34 C.F.R. § 300.34). Overview | School Siting | School Travel Costs | Cost Calculator | Resources

45 Cost Factors: Education Policy Transporting Students With Special Needs The cost of providing public school bus transportation for special needs students is understandably higher than service for non-disabled students due to the potential for further distances and additional equipment necessary to assist special needs bus ridership. However, providing efficient and effective service to special needs students in meeting IDEA requirements without diminishing service delivery for non-disabled students is a consistent challenge and dilemma for school transportation planners. School transportation planners that consider comprehensive special needs and non- disabled student routes may find opportunities to maximize route coordination and occupancy (Bluth, 2012). As with other cost considerations, there remains potential for efficiency gains in public school bus transportation planning.Bluth, 2012 Overview | School Siting | School Travel Costs | Cost Calculator | Resources


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