Transportation

David Farmer
Director
706-367-3515
Email: dfarmer@jcss.us

Routing Supervisor
Michel Reynolds
706-367-3995
mreynolds@jcss.us

Bus Driver Training Instructor
Anita Sears
706-367-3989
asears@jcss.us

David Farmer was named director of transportation in 2014, but  he has been part of JCSS since his own school days. A Jackson County native, he attended Benton School and graduated from Jackson County Comprehensive High School in 1990. He earned a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from the University of Georgia in 1994 and worked in sales and construction before returning to school for his teaching certificate and a master’s degree in special education. He began working in 2007 at South Jackson Elementary School as a special ed teacher, and was the 2014-15 system-wide Teacher of the Year. A volunteer with the Banks County Fire Department, he recently earned Firefighter I and First Responder certifications.

Our Transportation Department is responsible for the world’s most precious passengers: Jackson County’s children.

Our employees provide safe transportation, morning and afternoon, for thousands of youngsters from pre-K to 12th grade, logging more than 1 million miles a year. They are the first school greeting of the day and the wheels behind field trips that broaden students’ horizons and carry them to the competitive events that strengthen their resolve.

With safety as their first priority, transportation leaders and support staff establish routes, determine bus stop locations, maintain a fleet of nearly 100 buses, and provide ongoing training. Our drivers support teaching and learning by setting expectations for behavior based on the JCSS Code of Conduct and the school system’s bus rules.

Routing Supervisor Michel Reynolds, Transportation Director David Farmer, and Driver Training Instructor Anita Sears

From left, Routing Supervisor Michel Reynolds, Transportation Director David Farmer, and Driver Training Instructor Anita Sears

Bus assignment

A student is assigned to a bus and bus route based on home address, and emergency notifications and bus delays/changes are communicated with the information in our Infinite Campus student management system.

You can check the accuracy of your contact information through the Infinite Campus portal.

Data Matters

It is a parent/guardian’s responsibility to notify the school immediately if the child’s address changes to ensure contact information is up to date.

  • If you change your phone number or email address, contact your child’s school with the new information as soon as possible.
  • If you move within your school’s attendance zone, even if the move does not require a change in bus routes, please contact your child’s school to update your address and contact information so the school can print out the new information for the bus driver. In the interests of safety, a handwritten note to the driver cannot be accepted; the information must come from the school to the driver.
  • If you move to another JCSS school’s attendance zone, please follow the instructions on the Registration Information page.
  • If you need assistance to identify the new bus stop location and schedule, follow the steps outlined at the top of this page (see “BUS STOPS AND ROUTES”).  For assistance, call 706-367-3995.

Who is eligible to ride Jackson County School System buses to and from school?  The Jackson County Board of Education provides school bus transportation for all eligible Jackson County students. Beginning with the 2017-18 school year, buses will carry students by grade band — that is, elementary, middle and high school students will ride separate buses.

How are bus pick-up times determined? Bus schedules are set based on capacity and distance from the school so that students arrive approximately 25 minutes before classes begin, allowing time for breakfast in the school cafeteria. It is our goal that no child has a morning or afternoon bus ride of more than an hour.

How are bus stop locations determined? The transportation department assigns bus stops with student safety as its No. 1 consideration. There are a number of other considerations, including road conditions, bus capacity, and required traffic maneuvers. It is our goal that no student has to travel more than 2/10 of a mile to the bus stop. All locations are assigned with the understanding that the student’s parent/guardian or other adult designated by the family provides age-appropriate supervision at the bus stop.

What if we haven’t been bus riders before but want to start?  Please notify your child/children’s school(s) in order to establish service.

  • IF YOURS WOULD BE A SOLO PICKUP — that is, if there are no other children being picked up within about 2/10 of a mile — a new stop will be added to the route and you will be notified about the location of the stop and the pick-up/drop-off times.
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  • IF YOUR CHILD/CHILDREN WOULD BE PART OF A GROUP THAT ALREADY IS BEING PICKED UP — for instance, in a subdivision where another child/children already gather — you should still contact the school to let them know your child will be joining the group so he/she can be added to the group.

 
What if we take a break — for illness or travel, for example? Our bus drivers are not required to stop at a location where a child has not ridden the bus for three consecutive days. You can notify our department in advance if you know you will have a break in service or ask to have transportation started again by calling 706-367-3995.

Can my child ride the bus to another child’s home after school? No. Students are not allowed to ride a bus other than the one to which they are assigned.

Can my child get off the bus at a friend’s house instead of  his/her own stop? ONLY if the student’s parent/guardian sends a signed note AND the arrangement is approved by the principal. The school will notify the bus driver of the permission.

We are moving — what do I need to do to ensure my child is picked up and dropped off at our new address? Contact the school your child attends to update the information and get a new bus stop assignment; school staff will notify the bus drive, who is NOT allowed to take a new student without getting this information directly from the school. Handwritten notes are not accepted by the school or the driver.

Data Matters

It is a parent/guardian’s responsibility to notify the school immediately if the child’s address changes to ensure contact information is up to date.

  • If you change your phone number or email address, contact your child’s school with the new information as soon as possible.
  • If you move within your school’s attendance zone, even if the move does not require a change in bus routes, please contact your child’s school to update your address and contact information so the school can print out the new information for the bus driver. In the interests of safety, a handwritten note to the driver cannot be accepted; the information must come from the school to the driver.
  • If you move to another JCSS school’s attendance zone, please follow the instructions on the Registration Information page.
  • If you need assistance to identify the new bus stop location and schedule, follow the steps outlined at the top of this page (see “BUS STOPS AND ROUTES”).  For assistance, call 706-367-3995.

To determine when and where your child will be picked up and dropped off each day, see the “Bus Stops and Routes” information in the column at right.

Routing Management
  1. The location of bus stops is determined by the Transportation Department.
  2. The safety of students is the first consideration when determining bus stop locations. This consideration takes precedence over all other routing criteria. However, the safety of any school bus stop is evaluated with the understanding that the parent / guardian (or other adult) will provide age-appropriate supervision for the student(s) at the bus stop.
  3. Students who reside along heavily traveled roadways will have their stops evaluated on an individual basis by the Route Supervisor. Curbside service will be rendered to students who reside on multi-lane roadways throughout the county. Normally, no student is asked to walk more than 2/10 of a mile to a Jackson County School bus stop.
  4. Bus stops will be placed on public roadways and buses will generally not travel on private roads and/or driveways that are not maintained by Jackson County. Bus stops will not be placed on cul-de-sac streets that measure 2/10 of a mile or less.
  5. The JCSS transportation staff will determine and document the validity of the exceptions stated above, and determine the accommodation to be made, within the length of time specified in the relevant administrative procedure. Adjustment to this criteria may be made if …
    • a bona fide safety hazard exists;
    • the street or street segment is used as a bus turnaround area where no other safe area exists;
    • the student has a medically determined and documented condition that necessitates accommodation;
    • the transportation staff determines that an adjustment to the criteria is necessary to provide safe, effective and/or efficient service.
  6. Jackson County is experiencing rapid growth in the development of subdivisions. Bus stop locations will be set at the entrance of subdivisions that are under construction until the bus can safely maneuver the streets.
  7. Bus drivers do not have authority to change or alter bus stop locations. Bus drivers are instructed to inform their route supervisor if there is a question about bus stop location. No maximum ride time is specified, however, bus routes are designed to minimize the length of the students’ ride to and from school.
  8. Several factors are considered when designing bus routes:
    • bus capacity
    • location of school
    • backing maneuvers and left turns
    • school starting time
    • bridges
    • location of students
  9. Buses are generally routed so students will be loaded or unloaded as the bus travels out of a subdivision where there is no through access. If backing the bus is necessary near an established bus stop, it will be accomplished when the students are on the bus.
  10. Consistency is a priority in all of the transportation department’s decisions. Our goal is to provide an equitable level of service to students and parents who live in similar surroundings and/or circumstances.

 

Bus attendance

Our bus drivers are not required to stop at a location where a child has not ridden the bus for three consecutive days. You can notify our department in advance if you know you will have a break in service or ask to have transportation started again by calling 706-367-3995.

Please see more information in the column at right/below under the heading REGULAR BUS ATTENDANCE.

Expectations

Bus drivers should clearly communicate expectations and reinforce as needed. Expectations should be based on bus rules (see below) and the JCSS Student Code of Conduct.

Seat Assignments

Bus drivers will learn the name of each student and their stop locations. Students will be assigned seats as part of the prevention step. Assigned seating will help with:

  1. Ownership of property surrounding the student’s seat area.
  2. Knowing if a student is / was on board.
  3. Knowing who is on board for emergency purposes.
  4. Emergency evacuation procedures.
  5. Increased structure, routine and consistency, especially during loading and unloading procedures.
Bus Rules
  • Students will follow directions of their bus driver.
  • Students should be at the bus stop 5 minutes before the bus arrives, waiting in a safe place, clear of traffic and 10 feet from where the bus stops.
  • Students will wait in an orderly line and avoid playing.
  • Students will cross the roadway in front of the bus after the bus has stopped, they have looked at the driver for a hand signal, and they have looked in both directions for traffic; left, right, left.
  • Students will signal the driver with a waving motion if something is dropped and wait for the driver to give a signal before picking up the object.
  • Students will go directly to assigned seat when entering the bus. Keep the aisles and exits clear.
  • Students will remain properly seated, back against the back of the seat, bottom against the bottom of the seat, and keep hands to themselves.
  • Students will not eat, drink, chew gum, or bring tobacco, alcohol, drugs, or any controlled substances on the bus.
  • Students will not carry animals, glass objects, nuisance items, hazardous materials, or weapons onto the bus.
  • Students may carry only objects that can be held in their laps.
  • Students will refrain from using loud voices, profanity, and / or obscene gestures, and respect the rights and safety of others.
  • Students will not extend head, arms, or objects out of the bus windows.
  • Students will be totally silent at railroad crossings.
  • Students will stay seated until time to get off the bus. The open door is the signal to get up from the bus seat.
  • Students will help keep their bus clean and in good, safe condition.

 

Intervention

Intervention steps are used by the bus driver to help the student stop unsafe or inappropriate behaviors or habits while assisting students to identify the appropriate habit or behavior. Intervention steps also provide notification to the parent/guardian so that the parent can be involved in assisting the driver to change unsafe or inappropriate riding habits.

Bus drivers may use the interventions listed below during the intervention step of the process. A minor offense is considered inappropriate or unsafe student behavior that may be improved with minor assistance from the driver.

Documentation: Bus driver will maintain daily written documentation of all occurrences in the driver’s daily logbook.

Verbal Reminder: Bus drivers will remind the student of the appropriate bus rule(s.)

Seat Reassignment: A student’s assigned seat may be changed by the bus driver when such change may help the student to demonstrate appropriate riding behaviors and/or allow the driver to more effectively monitor that student’s behavior.

Talk individually with student: Bus drivers will talk individually with the student to determine what steps could be taken to help the student demonstrate appropriate and safe riding behaviors

Any or all of the above steps may be bypassed when a student’s actions are illegal or judged by the driver to be or so unsafe or disrespectful that immediate corrective action is required.

Violations that should be considered major offenses include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Drugs (includes alcohol, cigarettes)
  • Throwing objects in or out of the bus
  • Fighting (trying to intentionally hurt someone)
  • Weapons, dangerous instruments, and explosive / implosive devices (including lighters)
  • Threats/bullying (verbal and physical threats)
  • Sexual harassment

Such violations should be reported immediately to the School Administrator on a bus discipline form.

Consequences

If the student’s behavior and/or safe riding habits do not improve despite prevention and intervention, a bus discipline form is submitted by the bus driver to the school administrator. The school administrator is responsible for assigning appropriate, effective consequences for the student’s inappropriate behavior in an effort to ensure the necessary improvement.

The School Administrator will assign appropriate consequences based on a) the severity of the misbehavior and b) number and frequency of the student’s bus referrals.

The School Administrator may tailor consequences to account for individual circumstances in each situation. The goal of assigning consequences is to bring about the desired student behavior on the school bus, and the transportation department will support any consequence that achieves that goal.

Click here for the Operations overview.

JCSS bus markings
Bus stops and routes

JCSS provides transportation to our elementary, middle and high schools within the designated attendance zones. Parents/guardians are responsible for transporting students who attend a school other than the one for which they are zoned.

To find your bus stop, APPROXIMATE pick-up and drop-off times, and routing information, click here, enter GUEST as username and PASSWORD as password, and provide the information requested. If you have questions, want to request a change in bus stop location, or need further assistance, call 706-367-3995. Please plan to arrive at the stop 10-15 minutes earlier for the first few days of the new school year until routes are settled!

Click here to see a list by route and road for all county buses for the 2017-2018 school year.

Regular bus attendance

If there is no rider at a solo bus stop (i.e., where only one child is picked up) for THREE CONSECUTIVE MORNINGS, no stop will be made at that location UNLESS/UNTIL a parent notifies the school that a child will ride. The parent of a child who is picked up at a spot where other children gather also must notify the school that the child will be riding the bus.

Advance notification by a parent also applies to afternoon riders.

Please call your child’s school the day before (or, in an emergency situation, the bus department directly — 706-367-3995).

If you know in advance that you will have a break in service, you can notify the Transportation Department with the stop and re-start dates.

 

Bus safety

Click here for more information on school bus safety from the Georgia Department of Education.

Click here for more information on student transportation from GaDOE.