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Legal Update for School Bus Contractors

Despite the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) continued position that “the school bus is the safest vehicle on the road”, in 2019 the school bus industry has been the focus of increased attention from lawmakers and regulators. Following is a brief discussion of the evolving state and federal laws from the past year that matter most to Pennsylvania’s school bus contractors.
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FMCSA Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse Begins in January 2020

On December 5, 2016, the FMCSA published a final rule, which amended the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations to establish requirements for a Commercial Driver License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse (the “Clearinghouse”). The Clearinghouse will be a database that contains information about individuals’ violations of the FMCSA’s drug and alcohol testing program for drivers who hold a Commercial Driver’s License (“CDL”). This article will help ensure that you are compliant with the man...
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Proposed Changes to FMCSA Hours of Service Requirements

The FMCSA is considering changes to its Hours of Service rules, some of which will have an effect on the school bus industry. Shortly after the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (“FMCSA”) instituted Electronic Logging Devices (“ELDs”) to record hours of service, it received notice of additional changes which are desired by those who were affected. On August 22, 2019, the FMCSA issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking with changes that FMCSA is now proposing to the hours of service re...
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Is Public Transit Encroaching On Your School Bus Operations?

Typically, school transportation is provided to school districts, charter schools, and other non-public schools either by the school district’s own transportation department or by a private contractor. However, public transit that is operated by a state or local government authority (an “Operator”), can also, in some instances, provide school transportation services. For an Operator to be able to provide “school bus operations” and also continue receiving federal funds to operate public tra...
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Confidentiality – FERPA/IDEA/HIPAA and More

For school bus contractors, proper access to and handling of confidential student information is important. This is especially true when dealing with special issues related to a child’s care. Businesses and school districts often struggle to balance the protection of student privacy with the disclosure of information necessary for student health and safety. This article discusses access to and protection of confidential information.
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Flexible Instructional Days Could Reduce School Transportation Needs

On July 2, 2019, Governor Tom Wolf, signed SB 440 into law allowing Pennsylvania schools to have up to five “flexible instructional days” each year in place of face to face classroom time. This means that the number of days that require transportation to and from school could be reduced from the currently required 180 days. While this may be a benefit to school districts, most school bus contracts are based on an anticipated 180 days of revenue. Eliminating five days of transportation could r...
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Pennsylvania State Motor Fuel Tax Exemption

Understanding fuel costs, taxes, and exemptions is an important part of business planning for school bus contractors. Often there is confusion about what the taxing source, federal or state, and how exemptions work. This article describes the processes for obtaining fuel that excludes the Pennsylvania Motor Fuel Tax or how to seek reimbursement for the state tax for fuel used to transport school students to and from school.
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6/25/2019| Reference Number : 139.0| School Bus | Fuel Clause |
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