Frequently Asked Questions
- How is Transportation Aid applied for, calculated and paid?
- Who is eligible for aid and who should be counted?
- What is the correct mileage category for a student being transported to child care in lieu of home?
- When should the data be reported and the report submitted to DPI?
- How is transportation aid calculated?
- When does DPI pay the school district and how should it be accounted for?
- What does DPI audit on the Pupil Transportation Report?
- Can Open Enrollment pupils be included on the Pupil Transportation Report and if so, when?
- Where can I find prior year transportation aid worksheets?
- Who can be counted for vocational transportation?
- What category should we place a student who move within the district during the school year?
- Browse common transportation data reporting definitions
Pupil Transportation Aid
Provides general information on this topic.
Q: How is Transportation Aid Applied For, Calculated and Paid?
Transportation Aid is applied for annually through the School Finance Reporting Portal using the fiscal year Pupil Transportation Report (PI-1547). This report collects the actual number of pupils transported--categorized by the distance from the pupils residence to school using the most commonly traveled direct route--in order to calculate transportation aid under the provisions of s.121.58 Wis. Stats. Data included is for the summer sessions prior to the regular school year and interim sessions not yet reported, the previous regular school year and vocational education programs operating pursuant to intergovernmental cooperation agreements as authorized by s.66.0301 Wis. Stats. The collection of Wisconsin Technical College System pupil data is provided for by s.121.54(5) Wis. Stats.
Q: Who is Eligible for Aid and Who Should be Counted?
Public school districts and Independent Charter schools (LEAs) may receive this aid if they furnished residence (home) to school transportation to and from public or non-public schools at the expense of the district/LEA. This includes pupils transported under parent contract and special education students transported on regular transportation routes.
Special Transportation Services
A student with specialized transportation outside of a regular route for only part of the school year may be included (in the PI-1547 report) if they rode on a regular bus route at some time during the year. Students riding regular routes with additional supports per their IEP are also included (in the PI-1547 report). Students solely riding a specialized route may not be included in the count.
Specialized transportation involves IEP-required services for pupils with disabilities eligible for state special education aid; it may also include pupils without disabilities receiving an incidental benefit. See “Specialized Transportation Funding” and “Specialized Transportation Aid Eligibility and Funding” for more information. Pupils with disabilities who do not require specialized transportation, as well as pupils served by a sec. 504 plan, are counted in the PI-1547 portal.
If any child received "special" transportation services (i.e. special arrangements have been made or transportation was modified for a disability) for the full year, a child with a disability receiving specialized transportation on a separate route per the IEP is not included in the regular transportation count, the transportation expenses should be recorded in Fund 27 and be reimbursed through the categorical aid formula as stated in s.115.88 Wis. Stats. instead of being reported on the Pupil Transportation Report. Under strict limited circumstances, a student without a disability--including a student experiencing homelessness--may utilize a specialized transportation route as an incidental benefit without disqualifying the costs of the route for state Special Education Aid or IDEA grant funding. See the top of page two on the "Specialized Transportation Aid Eligibility and Funding" document (which provides the most recent information related to students with an IEP that includes transportation).
Pupils Transported Two Miles or Less
Aid for pupils transported two miles or less is only available if a district has an unusually hazardous transportation (UHT) plan on file prior to the end of the aid-related school year and approved by DPI pursuant to s.121.54(9) Wis. Stats. Only children living in the areas identified in the plan may be counted in the category. Please review the Pupil Transportation page if you would like more information on filing a plan.
Pupils to Non-Public Schools
State transportation aid is determined under the provisions of s 121.58 Wis. Stats. Aids paid to public school districts include aid for transporting pupils to non-public schools. Although pupils may be eligible for transportation, the pupil must be actually transported at least once during the school year for districts to include them on the transportation report for aid.
Reliable Documentation Requirement
Districts are responsible to provide reliable documentation and NOT undocumented assumptions or estimates to support the number of pupils reported as actually transported at least once during the school year.
Q: What is the Correct Mileage Category for a Student Being Transported to Child Care in Lieu of Home?
Based on 121.58 (2)(b) (below), when determining the correct pupil transportation mileage category for a student being transported "to child care, grandparents, etc." the school district must use the student’s residence as the starting point.
If the most direct route to the daycare location is greater than the most direct route to the student’s residence, the district must make the mileage category determination based on the student’s residence location. If the student’s residence is less the two miles from the school of attendance (and without an Unusually Hazardous Transportation plan that includes that child’s residence), the student cannot be included in the PI-1547 or 1547-SS counts.
A school board that provides transportation under s. 121.54 (2) (am) shall be paid state aid for such transportation at the rates specified and according to the conditions established under pars. (a) and (am), except that the amount of state aid may not exceed the amount which the school district would receive for transporting the child between the child's residence and school attended under s. 121.54 (1) to (3), (5), (6) or (9) or 121.57.
In lieu of transporting a pupil who is eligible for transportation under par. (a) to and from his or her residence, a school district may transport the pupil to or from, or both, a before- and after-school child care program under s. 120.125, a child care program under s. 120.13 (14) or any other child care program, family child care home or child care provider.
Q: When Should the Data be Reported and the Report Submitted to DPI?
The data is entered in two separate reports in the School Finance Reporting Portal. Per s. 121.58(4) Wis. Stats., DPI is required to collect summer/interim school transportation data by October 1 and this is the first report. The PI-1547SS portal is opened in July for data entry, after the school year transportation report for the previous year is closed. It is recorded by way of a separate report but the data is not processed until the regular school year and vocational transportation information is entered in May or June of the following year through the PI-1547 portal.
The second report--through the PI-1547 portal--includes regular school year and vocational transportation information and is opened the following May for collection of regular school transportation data. The report must be submitted to DPI by early July. Summer Interim sessions data will be visible but modifications will require assistance from a School Finance Team member.
Q: How is Transportation Aid Calculated?
The total funds available for pupil transportation aid are appropriated by the Wisconsin Legislature. An amount is paid to the school district and independent charter school for each actually transported student based on distance transported according to rates in s.121.58(2) and s.121.58(4) Wis. Stats. See Pupil Transportation Aid for the current rates. If the appropriation is not sufficient to pay the total amount, aid is prorated according to the amount eligible per district.
Q: When does DPI Pay the School District and How Should it be Accounted For?
Transportation aid is paid on the last Monday in January. School districts should record this revenue in the General Fund (Fund 10) using source 612 (i.e. account 10R 612000 000). Any residual balance of the allocation after the original payment is made will be dispersed in June.
Q: What does DPI Audit on the Pupil Transportation Report?
The annual pupil transportation audit--conducted by an independent audit firm--reviews the data, works with the school district if there are questions on the accuracy or reasonableness of the data and then files a Single State Audit Finding to DPI if appropriate. Some areas of review are:
- Are the number of pupils transported reasonable compared to the number enrolled?
- Is an approved unusually hazardous transportation plan on file if pupils are recorded in a two miles or less category? This is a program edit and data cannot be entered into these fields if a DPI approved plan is not on file.
- Has the total aid eligibility changed significantly from prior years without an explanation?
- Have counts in each category changed significantly from prior years without an explanation?
- Does the data look complete and do most categories have data?
- If an explanation is provided, is it reasonable?
- Has the data changed from last year without an explanation?
- Has the district filed a summer - interim session report if they recorded pupils for summer - interim transportation?
Edits are built into the program to require explanations where major differences occur from year to year so any program or policy changes that have an effect on the district's transportation counts should be noted.
Q: Can Open Enrollment Pupils be Included on the Pupil Transportation Report and If So, When?
Information pertaining to Open Enrollment transportation can be found at DPI Bulletin 14-08 "Statutes Concerning Open Enrollment Transportation". Only the non-resident district can count the Open Enrollment pupil for Transportation Aid and the non-resident district must incur the expense of transporting the pupil. Questions pertaining to Open Enrollment transportation should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org or call toll-free: 888-245-2732.
Q: Where Can I Find Prior Year Transportation Aid Worksheets?
Browse the SFS Executable Worksheets page and scroll down near the bottom.
Q: Who Can Be Counted for Vocational Transportation?
Include only those pupils, that your district is financially responsible for, who are enrolled full-time in a vocational education, occupational preparation program at a technical college or participate in a 66.0301 vocational program for whom your district provides transportation to and from residence to the technical college or 66.0301 service center per s. 121.54(5), Wis. Stats.
Q: What Category Should We Place a Student Who Moves Within the District During the School Year?
A student who is actually transported at least once will be counted in the mileage category as determined by the LEA on the PI-1547. The determination of the mileage category does not need to be modified for the given school year as long as the student continues residing in the school district. Only “One-Way” mileage (NOT "round-trip" or "total route") using the most direct route from the pupil’s residence to the school attended is reported on the PI-1547.
Browse Common Transportation Data Reporting Definitions
- One-way distance in miles;
- Using the shortest commonly traveled route;
- Modified route: If the municipality has notified the district that a road is closed to use by a school bus, keep the written documentation for your auditor, as this may result in the need to use a different route then the shortest per an Internet tool;
- From the pupil's residence to the school attended.
Unusually Hazardous Transportation Plan
The local school district may develop a plan under s.121.54(9) Wis. Stats. in order to designate an area as unusually hazardous. For pupils transported two or less miles, aid may be paid based on this plan. The plan must be filed and approved by DPI prior to the end of the associated school year. To submit or update a plan, contact the Pupil Transportation program contact.
Other Pupils Transported
The school district may record the count of pupils being transported that are not eligible for transportation aid. For example, if a district transported students less than two miles for which there is no hazardous transportation plan, they may be reported here to account for the total ridership. This data in not required and not recorded beyond the individual data entry portal.
Pupil Transportation Aid
School districts that furnish transportation to and from schools (public and non-public) are entitled to receive aid using the rates below to determine eligibility. Please note that the exact dollar amount received depends on the amount appropriated by the Wisconsin Legislature for the year (s.121.58(6) Wis. Stats.).
Summer - Interin sessions
|Days||Distance From Residence to School||Aid Amount|
|1-15||Over 5 miles||$10/pupil|
|Over 15||2-5 miles||$10/pupil|
|Over 15||Over 5 miles||$20/pupil|
Regular School Year
|Distance From Residence to School||Aid Amount|
|0-2 miles (hazardous area)||$15.00/pupil|
|Over 12 miles||$365.00/pupil|
|Distance From Residence to School||Aid Amount|
|Over 12 miles||$365.00/pupil|