Senate Bill 88 – Additional Requirements For Drivers Providing School Related Pupil Transportation

CATEGORY: Public Education Matters
CLIENT TYPE: Public Education
DATE: Dec 06, 2023

Existing law requires the driver of a school pupil activity bus, as defined, to be subject to the regulations adopted by the Department of the California Highway Patrol governing school bus drivers, except as specified.

Beginning July 1, 2025, SB 88 imposes additional requirements upon drivers who provide school-related pupil transportation for compensation to a local educational agency. Local education agency is defined as any school district, county office of education, charter school, entity providing services under a school transportation joint powers agreement, or regional occupational center or program (LEA).  SB 88 is applicable to all drivers employed by, contracted by, or contracted by any entity with funding from a LEA.  School-related pupil transportation includes: home-to-school transportation, field trips, after school program-related transportation, preschool and childcare-related transportation, athletic program-related transportation, extracurricular school activity-related transportation, or any transportation of pupils to or from a school campus.  SB 88 provides for certain exclusions.

SB 88 places various requirements upon these school bus drivers including, but not limited to, pass a criminal background check, have a satisfactory driving record, submit and clear tuberculosis risk assessments, not have demonstrated irrational behavior, pass a medical examination, and have certain training, as specified by the code.

SB 88 requires that all vehicles be inspected every 12 months, or every 50,000 miles, whichever comes first, at a facility licensed by the Bureau of Automotive Repair to ensure that the vehicle passes a 19-point vehicle inspection and to be equipped with a first aid kit and a fire extinguisher.

SB 88 requires a private entity providing transportation services to provide a written attestation that it does not have any applicable law violations at the time of applying for the contract, it will maintain compliance with applicable laws for the duration of the contract, its drivers meet the qualifications, and it has all the necessary reports and documents to prove the same.  Third parties are authorized to report to a LEA that the private entity has failed to provide a truthful attestation or has failed to maintain compliance with the applicable laws during the term of the contract.

In the event the LEA enters into a contract before January 1, 2024 and the terms conflict with SB 88, SB 88 would not be applicable until the expiration or renewal of that contract.

Existing law provides the governing board or county superintendent of schools authority to determine, at their discretion, whether a private contracted driver who transports pupils infrequently without prolonged contact with the pupils requires a tuberculosis risk assessment as a condition of the contract.  SB 88 amends the law to only provide that discretion up until July 1, 2025; thereafter, these private contracted driver will also require a tuberculosis risk assessment.

(SB 88 amends Section 49406 and adds Article 5 (commencing with Section 39875) to Chapter 1 of Part 23.5 of Division 3 of Title 2 of, the Education Code.)

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