Charter School Transportation Choice

TO: Charter School Administrators

FROM: Kelly Wosika, Student Transportation Specialist

DATE: January 14, 2014

A charter school has the option of providing its own transportation or using district-provided transportation. A charter school after its first fiscal year of operation must notify the district in which it is located and the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) of its decision on transportation services for the 2014-15 school year by March 1, 2014. For a charter school in its first fiscal year, the deadline is July 1, 2014.

To assist a charter school in notifying the MDE of its choice, we have posted form ED 02425-08 on our website. The form must be completed for each site and returned to MDE by March 1, 2014, and July 1, 2014, for first year charters. View the Charter School Transportation Survey 2014-15 School Year, Form ED 2425-08.

Charter schools must indicate the grade levels the charter school is going to be serving for school year 2014-15. Please do not simply indicate the grades levels the charter school is approved to serve. Rather, indicate the grade levels the charter school will actually serve in 2014-15.

If a charter school provides any student transportation services, it must use vehicles and drivers that comply with all the statutes and rules governing pupil transportation. We are sending a copy of a document on these matters.

Charter schools that decide to provide their own transportation services will be required to complete the year-end transportation report. Records must be kept on the number of buses used to transport students and annual mileage, hours or routes for the different types of transportation services. The number of students transported will be obtained from the Minnesota Automated Reporting Student System (MARSS) electronic data submission. Expenditures for pupil transportation services will be obtained from the Uniform Financial Accounting and Reporting Standards (UFARS) electronic data submission.

Regardless of whether charter schools elect to provide their own transportation services or use district-provided services, the charter schools must enter the appropriate MARSS transportation code on the student record.

Charter schools may also access the handbook on MARSS transportation codes that is on the department’s website: View the handbook titled “MARSS Transportation Categories.”

Charter schools are also required to enter the “Transporting District Number and Type” on each student record. For charter schools that opted to provide their own transportation services, the “Transporting District Number” will be the charter school district number. This is true for all students. The district type for all charter schools is 07.

For charter schools that have opted to use district-provided transportation services, the “Transporting District Number and Type” will be the number and type of the district in which the charter school is located for all students. The only exception would be when a nonresident special education student that has special education transportation accommodations or adaptations identified in his/her Individual Education Program (IEP). Under this circumstance the charter school would be identified as the Transporting District and responsible for providing the related transportation service even if it means going outside the district boundaries. The Transportation Category tells the department whether the student actually received transportation services.

Also, at the same website location as the “MARSS Transportation Categories” is the document “Financial Accounting for Student Transportation Services” that contains sample cost allocation methods to help charter schools determine their transportation costs.

As stated earlier, each finance dimension represents a type of transportation service. View the UFARS Manual for more information. Print out chapter “04-Finance Dimension” of the 2014 UFARS Manual. The transportation finance dimensions begin at 711 and continue through 739. Each finance dimension represents a type of transportation service.

If you have any questions about transportation reporting, please contact Kelly Wosika at 651-582-8855.