It is the primary mission of the Transportation Department to safely and efficiently transport the students of the Milton-Freewater Unified School District to and from school. Our secondary mission is to provide a reliable and cost effective means of transportation for extracurricular activities, athletic events, and other approved activities as directed by the School Board. Our drivers, monitors, shop technicians, administrators and support staff are committed to maintaining a work environment that is conducive to achieving this mission. We will always be mindful that serving students, parents and schools is our purpose, and we will conduct our business in a manner that serves them best.
The Transportation Department employs 12 regular drivers who run 24 routes per day. Our 12 buses make 450 stops and cover over 700 route miles every day in transporting more than 600 students to and from school. In addition, there are approximately 300 trips run during the school year to various academic, cultural, and athletic events.
Our total daily fleet of buses is equipped with two-way radios, and most regular buses also have video cameras. Bus inspections are conducted annually by trained city shop personnel and daily by each driver.
School Bus Drivers hold Commercial Driver Licenses with Passenger and Student endorsements. They also have School Bus Driver Certificates issued by the Oregon Department of Education as well as First Aid Cards. Trainees undergo classroom instruction, as well as several hours of state-mandated supervised practice driving. As a condition of employment, all drivers are required to pass a physical screening, a criminal background check, and are subject to random mandatory drug/alcohol testing.
It is the student’s responsibility to be at the bus stop in the morning at least 5 minutes before
the scheduled time for the stop. Drivers will make every effort to not arrive at a stop early, but
bus clocks, drivers’ watches and students’ clocks and watches may not be on exactly the same
The student must be visible to the driver as the bus approaches the stop. Drivers are instructed
to not wait for students to come out of houses, get out of cars, etc.
It is the parents’ or guardians’ responsibility to make certain that an adult or responsible older
sibling is at home when younger students, especially K-3, arrive home. If the driver knows that
there is no one at home to meet a young child when he or she arrives home, then the driver will
keep the student on the bus and return him or her to the school.
Bus routes are constantly being adjusted for new enrollments and students moving. Parents will
be informed in advance of any adjustments that might significantly impact (by five minutes or
more) any particular bus stop.
The posted Basic Stops will be updated as changes are made. The school codes are:
GO – Gib Olinger Elementary School
FD – Ferndale School
C – Central Middle School
M – Mac-Hi
Parents are not to find later stops on a route just so their child can stay on the bus longer.
The following is the rationale and the considerations behind the decision on whether or not to delay or close school due to inclement weather. We know these decisions impact families throughout the District who may need to find alternative care for their children. The over-riding consideration in making these decisions is the safety of our students, staff and others in the community. Beyond that, the process becomes more complicated.
The fundamental decision is whether students and staff will be safer with school in session or with school closed for the day. Several factors are considered:
Road conditions are extremely important and must be considered throughout the district, including rural areas, especially during times of freezing rain or icy conditions.
School buses can drive through deep snow, but they can’t make it through to school if streets and country roads are clogged with stuck vehicles;
Wind chill is also important, if students walk to school or if there is the possibility of buses running late and students having to wait a longer time at their bus stop;
The weather prediction for the remainder of the day is also considered, as well as the reports from our city and county as to when key roads will be plowed;
The actions of other districts in the area and their observations of conditions are considered.
When severe winter weather occurs, the following steps are taken to examine weather conditions and to decide whether to delay or cancel the opening of school.
By 4:45 a.m., The Transportation Director and other staff drive on key roads throughout the District.
By 5:15 a.m., the Transportation Director contacts the Superintendent with information on weather and road conditions and discuss whether there may be a need to change the school schedule.
As early as possible, the Superintendent makes a decision to take one of the following actions:
open schools on schedule;
delay the opening of schools;
or cancel school for the day.
If the decision is made to either delay or cancel school, information is immediately publicized to staff, parents and students in a variety of ways.
Calls are made to area radio and television stations so they can begin broadcasting the schedule change.
Schedule change information is recorded on the district information phone voice message. You may reach the message by calling any school phone number and then pressing 5 or 541-938-3551 and pressing 5 once you receive the initial voice message.
Schedule change information is posted on the front page of the district web site as soon as possible.
Parents and staff will receive a phone call from the District’s automated phone calling system informing them of the decision to delay or cancel school.
Many school activities outside the regular school day are also affected by delaying the opening of or canceling school. If schools are closed all day, elementary and middle school after-school and evening activities will also be canceled. Decisions about evening high school activities will be made prior to 2:30p.m., if possible, and communicated as soon as possible on the high school website: http://machi.miltfree.k12.or.us.
Parents are also encouraged to have a plan for their child in case of early dismissal due to weather conditions or an emergency situation. Your plan may be to have your child go home and call you at work, or go to a friend’s house and call. In developing your plan, keep in mind that in certain emergency situations students may be immediately evacuated and may not be able to go back into the school to get their key or other belongings from their lockers or desks. Having a spare key hidden at home and available to your child may be a part of your plan.
Parents and guardians play a vital role in helping the District provide safe and efficient transportation for our students riding the bus. For your child's safety and your peace of mind, someone should be at the stop to meet any student who is in grades K-2.
The driver cannot wait at the stop to watch all the students walk to their homes. Also, very young students may get lost or distracted on the way home. Please have someone there who will make sure your child gets home safely. It is also important that each family develop an emergency plan if a student arrives home early, or if parents/guardians are not present at the time of their arrival.
The District also asks parents and guardians to do the following:
Support safe riding practices and reasonable discipline practices.
Model, teach and hold their students accountable for appropriate behavior.
Make certain that students arrive at the bus stop five minutes early and be responsible for their child’s behavior until the bus arrives. Parents/guardians are responsible for their students going to, from and at the bus stop.
Provide alternate transportation for their student if oversized objects or live animals must be transported to or from school, or when a student’s bus riding privileges are suspended.
Work with school personnel to reinforce appropriate bus rider behavior.
Support emergency evacuation drills and other emergency procedures as set by the school district.
Become familiar with district policies, regulations and principles of school bus safety.
Be willing to show ID to the driver when picking up students.
The Milton-Freewater Unified School District has adopted a zero-tolerance approach to misbehavior on the bus. Each student riding a bus is expected to follow the same rules of courtesy and good conduct as in the classroom. These rules are necessary for the safety of everyone who rides. Infractions of the rules are documented by the driver on a discipline notice, and turned in at the school office for the administrator to handle. Bus drivers are not authorized to suspend students; that decision rests with the principal. The principal's decision is final.
These regulations are in addition to the Oregon Department of Education School Bus Regulations posted on every bus.
Co-educational trips. At no time will boys and girls be allowed to sit together in the same seat. One gender will be seated in the front of the bus and the other in the rear with an adult seated between the two groups.
Food Coolers. All food coolers and containers must be of the soft-shelled variety. Hard-shelled coolers and containers are not allowed in the passenger compartment of the bus.
Drinks & Snacks. All drinks on the bus must be in a plastic container with a twist-on cap. No Styrofoam, plastic or paper cups with lids. No cans or glass bottles. No ice cream or sunflower seeds. All food containers and wrappers must be put in trash cans.
Footwear. No spikes or cleats of any kind are allowed on the bus. This includes football, baseball, soccer, track and golf .No spikes or cleats of any kind are allowed on the bus. This includes football, baseball, soccer, track and golf..
Changing clothes on the bus is not allowed. Not even then.
Cell Phones & Tablets. Absolutely no flash photography or flashlights are allowed on the bus. They are a very dangerous distraction for the driver. Lit screens should be set on low and kept behind the seat at all times.
Music. Music may be listened to on personal headphones or earbuds only.
Itinerary. The drivers will not be allowed to drive anywhere that has not been approved by the Administration and Transportation Supervisor before the trip.
Cleaning. It is the responsibility of the passengers to leave the bus cleaner than they found it. Decorating buses is not allowed. Passengers must use the trash cans. Upon completion of travel on the bus on any given day, passengers must pick up all trash and clean up all spills of food and drinks.
Transportation services will be provided for all resident elementary and middle school students who live more than one (1) mile from their assigned school and more than a mile and a half (1 ½) for high school students.
Each school will assist the Director of Transportation in assigning their students to the correct bus routes and stops. Students may board and leave only at their assigned stops, unless they have a note from the school office. The District has obtained permission from the Oregon Department of Education to provide elementary busing within the one mile boundary for hazardous conditions, such as elementary students crossing Highway 11.
Excessive stops are not permitted. In rural or isolated areas, address stops may be approved after the Transportation Director checks the area for safety and good visibility. Drivers are not allowed to move or add bus stops. All changes and additions to bus routes must be approved by the Transportation Supervisor. Parents should call Doug Henrichs, Transportation Supervisor, at 541-938-3551 ext. 6 to initiate a stop change request.