EDUCATION CODE


TITLE 2. PUBLIC EDUCATION


SUBTITLE F. CURRICULUM, PROGRAMS, AND SERVICES


CHAPTER 34. TRANSPORTATION


Sec. 34.001. PURCHASE OF MOTOR VEHICLES. (a) A school district may purchase school motor vehicles through the comptroller or through competitive bidding under Subchapter B, Chapter 44.

(b) The comptroller may adopt rules as necessary to implement Subsection (a). Before adopting a rule under this subsection, the comptroller must conduct a public hearing regarding the proposed rule regardless of whether the requirements of Section 2001.029(b), Government Code, are met.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 937 (H.B. 3560), Sec. 1.83, eff. September 1, 2007.

Sec. 34.002. SAFETY STANDARDS. (a) The Department of Public Safety, with the advice of the Texas Education Agency, shall establish safety standards for school buses used to transport students in accordance with Section 34.003.

(b) Each school district shall meet or exceed the safety standards for school buses established under Subsection (a).

(c) A school district that fails or refuses to meet the safety standards for school buses established under this section is ineligible to share in the transportation allotment under Section 42.155 until the first anniversary of the date the district begins complying with the safety standards.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1438, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 309, Sec. 9.01, eff. June 18, 2003.

Sec. 34.0021. SCHOOL BUS EMERGENCY EVACUATION TRAINING. (a) Pursuant to the safety standards established by the Department of Public Safety under Section 34.002, each school district may conduct a training session for students and teachers concerning procedures for evacuating a school bus during an emergency.

(b) A school district that chooses to conduct a training session under Subsection (a) is encouraged to conduct the school bus emergency evacuation training session in the fall of the school year. The school district is also encouraged to structure the training session so that the session applies to school bus passengers, a portion of the session occurs on a school bus, and the session lasts for at least one hour.

(c) The school bus emergency evacuation training must be based on the recommendations of the most recent edition of the National School Transportation Specifications and Procedures, as adopted by the National Congress on School Transportation, or a similar school transportation safety manual.

(c-1) Immediately before each field trip involving transportation by school bus, a school district is encouraged to review school bus emergency evacuation procedures with the school bus passengers, including a demonstration of the school bus emergency exits and the safe manner to exit.

(d) Not later than the 30th day after the date that a school district completes a training session, the district shall provide the Department of Public Safety with a record certifying the district's completion of the training.

(e) The Department of Public Safety may adopt rules necessary to implement this section.

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 923 (H.B. 3190), Sec. 7, eff. September 1, 2007.

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1347 (S.B. 300), Sec. 3, eff. June 19, 2009.

Sec. 34.003. OPERATION OF SCHOOL BUSES. (a) School buses or mass transit authority motor buses shall be used for the transportation of students to and from schools on routes having 10 or more students. On those routes having fewer than 10 students, passenger cars may be used for the transportation of students to and from school.

(b) To transport students in connection with school activities other than on routes to and from school:

(1) only school buses or motor buses may be used to transport 15 or more students in any one vehicle; and

(2) passenger cars or passenger vans may be used to transport fewer than 15 students.

(c) In all circumstances in which passenger cars or passenger vans are used to transport students, the operator of the vehicle shall ensure that the number of passengers in the vehicle does not exceed the designed capacity of the vehicle and that each passenger is secured by a safety belt.

(d) In this section, "passenger van" means a motor vehicle other than a motorcycle or passenger car, used to transport persons and designed to transport 15 or fewer passengers, including the driver.

(e) "Motor bus" means a vehicle designed to transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1029, Sec. 1, eff. June 19, 1997; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1438, Sec. 3, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 34.004. STANDING CHILDREN. A school district may not require or allow a child to stand on a school bus or passenger van that is in motion.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1029, Sec. 2, eff. June 19, 1997.

Sec. 34.005. FINANCING. (a) A school district financially unable to immediately pay for a school motor vehicle, including a bus, bus body, or bus chassis, the district purchases may, as prescribed by this section, issue interest-bearing time warrants in amounts sufficient to make the purchase.

(b) The warrants must mature in serial installments not later than the fifth anniversary of the date of issue and bear interest at a rate not to exceed the maximum rate provided by Section 1204.006, Government Code. The warrants shall be issued and sold at not less than their face value.

(c) The proceeds of the sale of the warrants shall be used to provide the funds required for the purchase.

(d) The warrants, on maturity and in the order of their maturity dates, are payable out of any available funds of the school district and, as they become due, are entitled to first and prior payment out of those funds.

(e) Full records of all warrants issued and sold shall be kept by the school district.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, Sec. 8.205, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

Sec. 34.006. SALE OF BUSES. (a) At the request of a school district, the comptroller shall dispose of a school bus.

(b) A school district is not required to dispose of a school bus through the comptroller.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 937 (H.B. 3560), Sec. 1.84, eff. September 1, 2007.

Sec. 34.007. PUBLIC SCHOOL TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM. (a) A board of county school trustees or a school district board of trustees may establish and operate an economical public school transportation system:

(1) in the county or district, as applicable; or

(2) outside the county or district, as applicable, if the county or school district enters into an interlocal contract as provided by Chapter 791, Government Code.

(b) In establishing and operating the transportation system, the county or school district board shall:

(1) employ school bus drivers certified in accordance with standards and qualifications adopted by the Department of Public Safety; and

(2) on determining eligibility for transportation services, allow a parent to designate one of the following locations instead of the child's residence as the regular location for purposes of obtaining transportation under the system to and from the child's school, if the location is an approved stop on an approved route:

(A) a child-care facility, as defined by Section 42.002, Human Resources Code; or

(B) the residence of a grandparent of the child.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 169, Sec. 3, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 201, Sec. 24, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 449 (H.B. 273), Sec. 1, eff. June 16, 2007.

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 817 (S.B. 1713), Sec. 1, eff. June 15, 2007.

Sec. 34.008. CONTRACT WITH TRANSIT AUTHORITY, COMMERCIAL TRANSPORTATION COMPANY, OR JUVENILE BOARD. (a) A board of county school trustees or school district board of trustees may contract with a mass transit authority, commercial transportation company, or juvenile board for all or any part of a district's public school transportation if the authority, company, or board:

(1) requires its school bus drivers to have the qualifications required by and to be certified in accordance with standards established by the Department of Public Safety; and

(2) uses only those school buses or mass transit authority buses in transporting 15 or more public school students that meet or exceed safety standards for school buses established under Section 34.002.

(b) This section does not prohibit the county or school district board from supplementing the state transportation cost allotment with local funds necessary to provide complete transportation services.

(c) A mass transit authority contracting under this section for daily transportation of pre-primary, primary, or secondary students to or from school shall conduct, in a manner and on a schedule approved by the county or district school board, the following education programs:

(1) a program to inform the public that public school students will be riding on the authority's or company's buses;

(2) a program to educate the drivers of the buses to be used under the contract of the special needs and problems of public school students riding on the buses; and

(3) a program to educate public school students on bus riding safety and any special considerations arising from the use of the authority's or company's buses.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1438, Sec. 5, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 449 (H.B. 273), Sec. 2, eff. June 16, 2007.

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 449 (H.B. 273), Sec. 3, eff. June 16, 2007.

Sec. 34.009. CONTRACTS FOR USE, ACQUISITION, OR LEASE OF SCHOOL BUS. (a) As an alternative to purchasing a school bus, a board of county school trustees or school district board of trustees may contract with any person for use, acquisition, or lease with option to purchase of a school bus if the county or school district board determines the contract to be economically advantageous to the county or district. A contract in the form of an installment purchase or any form other than a lease or lease with option to purchase is subject to Section 34.001.

(b) A school bus that is leased or leased with an option to purchase under this section must meet or exceed the safety standards for school buses established under Section 34.002, Education Code.

(c) Each contract that reserves to the county or school district board the continuing right to terminate the contract at the expiration of each budget period of the board during the term of the contract is considered to be a commitment of current revenues only.

(d) Termination penalties may not be included in any contract under this section. The net effective interest rate on any contract must comply with Chapter 1204, Government Code.

(e) The competitive bidding requirements of Subchapter B, Chapter 44, apply to a contract under this section.

(f) The commissioner shall adopt a recommended contract form for the use, acquisition, or lease with option to purchase of school buses. A district is not required to use the contract.

(g) After a contract providing for payment aggregating $100,000 or more by a school district is authorized by the board of trustees, the board may submit the contract and the record relating to the contract to the attorney general for the attorney general's examination as to the validity of the contract. The approval is not required as a term of the contract. If the contract has been made in accordance with the constitution and laws of the state, the attorney general shall approve the contract, and the comptroller shall register the contract. After the contract has been approved by the attorney general and registered by the comptroller, the validity of the contract is incontestable for any cause. The legal obligations of the lessor, vendor, or supplier of the property to the board are not diminished in any respect by the approval and registration of a contract.

(h) The decision of a board of county school trustees or school district board of trustees to use an alternative form of use, acquisition, or purchase of a school bus does not affect a district's eligibility for participation in the transportation funding provisions of the Foundation School Program or any other state funding program.

(i) A contract entered into under this section is a legal and authorized investment for banks, savings banks, trust companies, building and loan associations, savings and loan associations, insurance companies, fiduciaries, and trustees and for the sinking funds of school districts.

(j) A contract under this section may have any lawful term of not less than two or more than 10 years.

(k) A school district may use the provisions of any other law not in conflict with this section to the extent convenient or necessary to carry out any power or authority, express or implied, granted by this section.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1438, Sec. 6, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, Sec. 8.206, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

Sec. 34.010. USE OF SCHOOL BUSES FOR EXTRACURRICULAR AND OTHER SCHOOL-RELATED ACTIVITIES. (a) A school district board of trustees or board of county school trustees governing a countywide transportation system may contract with nonschool organizations for the use of school buses. The county or school district board may provide services relating to the maintenance and operation of the buses in accordance with the contract.

(b) The commissioner shall ensure that the costs of using school buses for a purpose other than the transportation of students to or from school, including transportation for an extracurricular activity or field trip or of members of an organization other than a school organization, are properly identified in the Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS).

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995.

Sec. 34.011. APPEALS. A policy decision of a board of county school trustees or board of trustees of a school district affecting transportation is final and may not be appealed.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995.

Sec. 34.012. THREE-POINT SEAT BELT INSTRUCTION; INFORMATION CLEARINGHOUSE. (a) The State Board of Education shall develop and make available to each school district a program of instruction in the proper use of a three-point seat belt.

(b) The State Board of Education shall serve as a clearinghouse of best practices for school districts seeking the most efficient and sensible information regarding school bus safety, including possible compliance with Section 547.701, Transportation Code, using school buses originally purchased without seat belts.

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 259 (H.B. 323), Sec. 3, eff. September 1, 2007.

Sec. 34.013. BUS SEAT BELT POLICY. A school district shall require a student riding a bus operated by or contracted for operation by the district to wear a seat belt if the bus is equipped with seat belts for all passengers on the bus. A school district may implement a disciplinary policy to enforce the use of seat belts by students.

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 259 (H.B. 323), Sec. 3, eff. September 1, 2007.

Sec. 34.014. FUNDING FOR THREE-POINT SEAT BELTS. (a) A person may offer to donate three-point seat belts or money for the purchase of three-point seat belts for a school district's school buses.

(b) The board of trustees of a school district shall consider any offer made by a person under Subsection (a). The board of trustees may accept or decline the offer after adequate consideration.

(c) The board of trustees may acknowledge a person who donates three-point seat belts or money for the purchase of three-point seat belts for a school bus under this section by displaying a small, discreet sign on the side or back of the bus recognizing the person who made the donation. The sign may not serve as an advertisement for the person who made the donation.

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 259 (H.B. 323), Sec. 3, eff. September 1, 2007.

Sec. 34.015. REPORTING OF BUS ACCIDENTS. (a) In this section, "bus" means a bus operated by or contracted for use by a school district to transport schoolchildren.

(b) A school district shall report annually to the Texas Education Agency the number of accidents in which the district's buses are involved. The agency by rule shall determine the information to be reported, including:

(1) the type of bus involved in the accident;

(2) whether the bus was equipped with seat belts;

(3) the number of students and adults involved in the accident;

(4) the number and types of injuries sustained by bus passengers in the accident; and

(5) whether the injured passengers were wearing seat belts at the time of the accident.

(c) The Texas Education Agency shall publish the reports received under this section on its Internet website.

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 259 (H.B. 323), Sec. 3, eff. September 1, 2007.