Frequently Asked Questions

  • 1. Who is entitled to bus transportation free of charge in Newton?
    Under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 71, Section 68, students in grades K-6 who reside more than 2.0 miles walking distance to their neighborhood school are entitled to free transportation. In addition Newton’s policy allows free transportation for students in grades K-5. Special education transportation services are separate from regular bus transportation and are not affected.
     
    2. Must I apply if my child is eligible for free transportation?
    An application must be filed if your child is in Grades K-12 and plans to receive bus transportation. All students riding the bus must purchase/acquire a bus pass including students in grades K-5 and grade 6 residing greater than 2 miles from school.
     
    3. Who can choose to pay a user fee?
    Under Newton Public Schools/School Committee Policy, all students in Grade 6 who live less than 2.0 miles from their school must pay a user fee for transportation. Grades 7-12 must pay the fee regardless of distance or apply for financial assistance.
     
    4. How is the distance from school determined for all students?
    It is measured by using the shortest walking route from the public way in front of a student’s home to the nearest entrance way of the school. The City of Newton’s Geographic Information System has calculated these distances.
     
    5. How can I find out the distance from my home to school?
    If you have a child in Grade 6, their address, school, and distance from school are indicated on the address label on the outside of this packet. Students in Grades 7-12 pay the bus fee regardless of distance. You can also query the Newton Public Schools’ website at www.newton.k12.ma.us/transportation for the walking distance from your home to school.
     
    6. What if I do not agree with the measurement?
    The distance will be re-measured allowing a .05 mile (264 ft.) leeway. Your fee will be returned if the walking distance is more
    than 2.0 miles for grades K-6.
     
    7. Will the bus routes and schedules stay the same?
    The bus routes will be set with reasonable revisions based on the number of applications and space availability. Please see a list of bus stops on the reverse side of the enclosed application. The bus routes may also be viewed on the Newton Public Schools’ website at www.newton.k12.ma.us/transportation
     
    8. May a student use a bus route or stop other than the one closest to his/her home?
    Requests will be considered on a space available basis.
     
    9. Is a student ever assigned to more than one bus stop?
    Yes. This should be noted on the application with the names and addresses of more than one parent or guardian.
     
    10. May a student not eligible for busing ride home with a friend?
    The policy allows periodic use of buses for guests as long as space is available and with the school’s permission.
     
    11. How much is the bus transportation fee?
    The bus fee for the 2017-2018 school year is $350 per student with a family maximum of $700. After February 1st, the bus fee is one-half the regular price. Students in grades K-5 do not pay a fee and students in grade 6 who live greater than 2.0 miles from their neighborhood school do not pay a fee.
     
    12. How can I receive financial assistance if the bus fee causes hardship?
    It is the intention of Newton Public Schools that no student should be excluded due to the inability to pay. Families may apply for a CONFIDENTIAL fee waiver based on financial hardship so that no student is denied bus transportation. All applicants seeking a waiver must submit an application for financial assistance which is available from the Transportation Office or on-line at www.newton.k12.ma.us/transportation
     
    13. Are there any one-way pass options?
    Yes, elementary students who travel by bus only to an afterschool program located in the vicinity of an existing bus stop may
    acquire a one way pass at no cost.
     
    14. How do I apply for a bus pass? Can I apply on-line?
    All students in grades K-12 must apply for a school bus pass. You can apply using the enclosed application or purchase
    on-line at www.newton.k12.ma.us/transportation
     
    15. Will bus passes be checked?
    Passes will be checked regularly at all schools so that the bus driver can concentrate on safe driving practices and timely
    adherence to the bus routes. In addition to checking passes, school officials monitor student eligibility by reviewing regular
    updates of the student bus pass database. Abuse of the bus pass system or violation of the school system’s rules of behavior
    will result in disciplinary action including suspension of transportation privileges and forfeiture of fees. Parents will be
    notified by the school.
     
    16. What is the transportation policy regarding Kindergarten and 1st grade drop off?
    Kindergarten and 1st graders students will be dropped off at their assigned bus stops. If a parent or guardian is not at the bus
    stop to meet the kindergartner, the driver will radio the dispatcher and keep the child on the bus. After the last stop on the
    route, the driver will return to the student’s bus stop and then to school if the parent or guardian is still not there. Repeated
    occurrences will result in the forfeiture of transportation privileges.
     
    17. Are private school students subject to the bus fee?
    Yes. According to Massachusetts General Laws, students who attend private schools in Newton are eligible for bus
    transportation according to the same policy as public school students. All private school students in grades K-12 must file an
    application.
     
    18. How do I pay for the bus pass?
    Payments can be made by check or money order payable to the “City of Newton” and mailed with the application. You can
    also pay the bus fee on-line at www.newton.k12.ma.us/transportation using your checking account, MasterCard or Discover
    Card.
     
    19. Must I pay the bus fee in one payment?
    Families may request to pay the fee in installments, but must pay at least 50% of the total fee by August 18th. Families will be
    billed for the balance of the fee payable by February 1st. All prior year balances must be paid in full in order to receive a bus
    pass for the new school year.
     
    20. When will the bus passes be distributed?
    Bus passes will be mailed home in August prior to the first day of school.
     
    21. Must my child carry the bus pass every day?
    Yes. All students should have their passes with them every school day. Please note that each school has an up-to-date list of
    students who have been issued bus passes. This list will confirm a student’s eligibility to ride. Abuse of the bus pass system or
    violation of the school system’s rules of behavior will result in disciplinary action including suspension of transportation
    privileges and forfeiture of fees.
     
    22. Why must I apply by August 18th?
    In order to plan the bus routes and prepare passes for mailing in August, the Transportation Office must receive all busing
    requests by August 18th. Passes may still be purchased after August 18th based on space availability. To ensure that your
    child has a pass for the start of school, the district strongly recommends returning the application and payment by the
    August 18th deadline.
     
    23. What if I leave something on the bus?
    Although the bus company is not responsible for items left on the bus, they do have a lost and found and try to return as much
    as possible to the rightful owner. The number for lost and found is 617-942-7305.