School boards of community consolidated districts, community unit districts, consolidated districts, consolidated high school districts, optional elementary unit districts, combined high school ‑ unit districts, combined school districts if the combined district includes any district which was previously required to provide transportation, and any newly created elementary or high school districts resulting from a high school ‑ unit conversion, a unit to dual conversion, or a multi‑unit conversion if the newly created district includes any area that was previously required to provide transportation shall provide free transportation for pupils residing at a distance of one and one‑half miles or more from any school to which they are assigned for attendance maintained within the district, except for those pupils for whom the school board shall certify to the State Board of Education that adequate transportation for the public is available.
Each school board may provide free transportation for any pupil residing within 1 1/2 miles from the school attended where conditions are such that walking, either to or from the school to which a pupil is assigned for attendance or to or from a pick-up point or bus stop, constitutes a serious hazard to the safety of the pupil due to either (i) vehicular traffic or rail crossings or (ii) a course or pattern of criminal activity, as defined in Section 10 of the Illinois Streetgang Terrorism Omnibus Prevention Act. Such transportation shall not be provided if adequate transportation for the public is available. The determination as to what constitutes a serious safety hazard shall be made by the school board, in accordance with guidelines promulgated by the Illinois Department of Transportation regarding vehicular traffic or rail crossings or in accordance with guidelines regarding a course or pattern of criminal activity, as determined by the local law enforcement agency, in consultation with the State Superintendent of Education.
The Department of Transportation shall review the findings of the school board concerning vehicular traffic or rail crossings and shall approve or disapprove the school board's determination that a serious safety hazard exists within 30 days after the school board submits its findings to the Department of Transportation. The State Board of Education, in consultation with the local law enforcement agency, shall review the findings of the school board concerning a course or pattern of criminal activity and shall approve or disapprove the school board's determination that a serious safety hazard exists within 30 days after the school board submits its findings to the State Board. The school board shall annually review the conditions and determine whether or not the hazardous conditions remain unchanged.
The school board of any school district that provides any school bus or conveyance for transporting pupils to and from the public schools shall afford transportation, without cost, for children who attend any school other than a public school, who reside at least 1 1/2 miles from the school attended, and who reside on or along the highway constituting the regular route of such public school bus or conveyance, such transportation to extend from some point on the regular route nearest or most easily accessible to their homes to and from the school attended, or to or from a point on such regular route which is nearest or most easily accessible to the school attended by such children.
On or before August 15, annually, the board clerk or the secretary of the district shall certify upon forms prescribed by the State Superintendent of Education the district's claim for reimbursement for the school year ended on June 30 next preceding. The district superintendent of schools shall check all transportation claims to ascertain compliance with the prescribed standards and upon his/her approval shall certify not later than August 15 to the State Superintendent of Education the district's report of claims for reimbursement.
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