The State Education Department has oversight responsibility for school district provision of pupil transportation services to resident pupils attending public and nonpublic schools. Approximately 2.3 million pupils, or ten percent of the nation’s pupils, are transported to school each day. One-third of these students are transported on district owned buses, one-third ride contracted buses, and one-third of our students utilize public transportation. The 2016-17 statewide cost of services is approximately $2.8 billion with state aid of $1.7 billion. The Department processes 5,000 contracts and extensions annually for the delivery of services by private contractors to over 480 school districts.
The Department also has jurisdiction over the qualifications for hiring school bus drivers, monitors and attendants for 50,000 buses statewide. It has established in regulation specific safety training requirements which help insure safe transportation for all pupils. The Department administers the School Bus Driver Safety Training Program which uses 1,000 School Bus Driver Instructors to provide school bus drivers, monitors and attendants with a comprehensive introduction to safety training and annual refresher training.