Current through Register Vol. 6, March 25, 2022
MCA, provides for contracts between a school district and a parent, legal
guardian or an emancipated minor to fulfill the district's obligation to
furnish transportation for an eligible transportee.
A school district may enter into a
contract for the provision of individual transportation only if the student
being transported is an eligible transportee of the district.
An eligible transportee, as defined in
MCA, is deemed by law "to reside with a parent or guardian who maintains legal
residence within the boundaries of the district furnishing the transportation
regardless of where the eligible transportee actually lives when attending
(i) An emancipated minor may also be
considered an eligible transportee if the other criteria of
MCA, are met.
pupils with disabilities are considered eligible transportees regardless of
distance between home and school or bus stop.
When a student attends school outside his
or her district of residence under an out-of-district attendance agreement
approved by the district of residence, either the district of attendance or the
district of residence, but not both, may consider the student an eligible
transportee for purposes of contracting to provide transportation reimbursement
or to provide bus services. Transportation arrangements must conform to ARM
Unless a student is attending school
under the mandatory provisions of
, MCA, or under an individual education
plan (IEP), the distance from the home to the nearest operating school or bus
stop will be used to calculate the reimbursement under a pupil transportation
(i) The nearest operating school
for purposes of (2)(c) is the nearest elementary or high school that the
student could reasonably attend, offering educational services appropriate for
the grade level of the student. Whether the school is in the district of
attendance or the district of residence is irrelevant to the
(ii) The nearest bus
stop for purposes of (2)(c) is the nearest bus stop where the student could
board a bus to the elementary or high school offering educational services
appropriate for the grade level of the student that the student could
reasonably attend, regardless of whether the bus stop is provided by the
district of attendance or the district of residence.
(d) If the student attends under the
mandatory provisions of
or (e), MCA, or is placed in another district
under an IEP, the distance from the home to the nearest appropriate school or
bus stop will be used to calculate the amount of reimbursement under an
individual contract for transportation.
The state may honor valid individual
contracts which are approved by the district after the budget has been adopted
as per ARM
(f) In no case may the district honor a
contract submitted after the last pupil instruction day of the school year at
the school of attendance.
(3) If an approved out-of-district attendance
agreement that includes terms for providing transportation does not exist
between the district of residence and the district of attendance, the parent or
guardian shall provide transportation at his own expense.
(4) When making an individual transportation
contract with the district, the parent, legal guardian or emancipated minor
must sign an affidavit attesting to the place of residence of the student. No
person other than the student's parent, legal guardian or an emancipated minor
may enter into an individual contract for transportation or receive the
transportation reimbursement. Transportation must be provided by a licensed
driver in an insured vehicle.
The form for contracts between a school district and a parent, legal guardian
or emancipated minor is designated form TR-4. The same contract form is used
for both elementary and high school pupils and provides for contracts at the
individual rate or for the increased individual rate provided by
(6) The maximum daily
reimbursement rate a parent, legal guardian or emancipated minor may receive
for a mileage contract is the daily rate he or she would receive under a room
and board contract, unless the contract has been approved for
(7) To be eligible to
receive reimbursement for a mileage contract, transportation for the mileage
reported on the contract must actually occur. The district may not claim state
or county reimbursement or pay a parent, legal guardian or emancipated minor
for transportation on days the student does not attend school.
Contracts for students with
transportation listed as a related service on their individualized education
plans will receive the following state/county reimbursement:
(a) Students who live three miles or less
from the school or bus stop will be eligible for the minimum state/county
reimbursement rate of 35 cents per day;
(b) Contracts for students who live over
three miles from the school or bus stop will receive a state/county
reimbursement rate calculated with the same formula used for all other
(9) If the
distance from the student's home to the nearest bus stop or school decreases
during the term of the individual contract, the district must amend the
contract to reflect the lower mileage and must notify the Superintendent of
Public Instruction and the county superintendent of the date the lowered
mileage became effective. The Superintendent of Public Instruction will
recalculate the daily reimbursement rate and will assign a new contract number
to the amended contract. The school district must claim the number of days that
transportation occurs at each distance on the TR-5 school district claim for
individual transportation reimbursement.
(10) The contract must be completed in its
entirety, signed by the parent, legal guardian, or emancipated minor, and the
chairman of the board of trustees on or before July 1 of the school year for
which the transportation is being provided. The signed contract is the
authorization of the board of trustees to budget for that transportation
expenditure necessary to meet the obligation imposed on the district by the
contract. Each party to the contract and the county superintendent must receive
a copy of the contract.
(11) If the
contracting party applies for increased individual transportation payments due
to isolation, the contract must be completed and signed in advance of the
meeting of the county transportation committee at which such applications are
approved or disapproved. (The date of this meeting in any county can be
obtained from the county superintendent.) Approval of any increased rates by
the county transportation committee precedes budget adoption.
(12) The district clerk must transmit each
transportation contract to the county superintendent and submit each contract
electronically to the Superintendent of Public Instruction by July 1, or as
received and accepted by the board of trustees.
(13) By October 1, or as received from the
district, the county superintendent must electronically verify the County
Transportation Committee's receipt of each transportation contract to the
Superintendent of Public Instruction. All individual contracts made between the
same parent or legal guardian and different school districts (in the same
county or in different counties) are gathered electronically by the
Superintendent of Public Instruction and allocation of district responsibility
for payment is made in compliance with the law and the Board of Public
mid-November, the Superintendent of Public Instruction electronically provides
approved contract rates to the county superintendent and to each district clerk
of a district providing individual contracts for transportation.
(15) The district clerk, in writing warrants
for transportation payments to the parent, legal guardian, or the emancipated
minor, is guided by the approved rates; the school district may only make
payments to the parent, legal guardian, or emancipated minor in accordance with
the rate established in (14) for approved contracts.
(16) The district must retain a copy of each
signed individual transportation contract on file for audit purposes.