WASHINGTON, D.C. — The importance of involving school bus operators in transportation planning for disabled children was bolstered in an Aug. 22 memorandum issued by the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) in the U.S. Department of Education.
The memo by Stephanie Smith Lee, director of OSEP, was sent to state directors of special education. It encouraged them to call to the attention of local education agencies the importance of "meaningful and effective communication — before the fact — between school district personnel and transportation providers about the transportation needs and potential problems of individual students with disabilities."
The memo was issued in response to concerns directed to OSEP by representatives of the National School Transportation Association (NSTA) and the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT). Robin Leeds, regulatory liaison for the NSTA, said the memo was "not quite as direct as we would have liked, [but] it is nevertheless a step forward in our efforts to facilitate better communication on the local level."
Although not directly stating its importance, Lee’s memo acknowledged the need for transportation providers to be included in training related to the specific disabilities of each child. "We believe that for the safety and well-being of all children who ride school buses, including children with disabilities, it is crucial that they are appropriately and effectively transported by well-informed and well-trained transportation providers," Lee said in her memo.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Planning has shifted into high gear for the 14th National Conference on School Transportation (NCST), which will meet May 15-19, 2005, in Warrensburg, Mo.
As of the Sept. 15 deadline for volunteering for Writing Committees, NCST Steering Committee Chair Charlie Hood reported that more than 400 people had expressed interest. Hood said their names have been entered into a database that is being forwarded by NCST coordinators to all Writing Committee chairs for their consideration.
Writing Committees will be finalized before the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS) and National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT) conferences in Salt Lake City in November. Most committees will be conducting meetings in Salt Lake City.
The Steering Committee will also be coordinating a public workshop at the NAPT meeting to answer questions about the 2005 NCST schedule and procedures. Information on this and other workshops at the NAPT show will be available at www.napt.org.
NCST meetings have been held regularly since 1939 to develop recommendations for school bus specifications and operational practices. The Steering Committee consists of representatives from the following sponsoring organizations: NASDPTS, NAPT, National School Transportation Association, School Bus Manufacturers Technical Council, School Transportation Section of the National Safety Council and Central Missouri State University. Questions about the NCST should be directed to [email protected]. Hood can also be reached at (850) 245-9795 or by fax at (850) 245-9935.