We understand that no two children are alike and that some require more assistance getting to and from school than others. At Cook-Illinois Corporation, we celebrate the differences among children and are proud of our commitment to transporting special needs students for more than 50 years.
Cook-Illinois Corporation is among the top ten largest school bus company nationwide, operating more than 2,200 school buses in Chicagoland. We currently operate more than 1,200 special needs vehicles out of most of our school bus company subsidiaries. Our fleet consists of a variety of vehicle types, all capable of meeting the specifications for transporting and securing special needs children.
Our special needs fleet provides daily transportation to local school districts and cooperatives, Head Start programs, summer camps, and park districts in the Chicagoland area.
Cook-Illinois Corporation was the first school bus company to have a separate subsidiary dedicated exclusively to special needs busing. Currently, we have the following 10 subsidiaries providing special needs busing:
- Alpha School Bus Company, Crestwood
- American School Bus Company, Frankfort
- Grand Prairie Transit, Elk Grove Village
- Grand Prairie Transit, Lockport
- Grand Prairie Transit, Willow Springs
- Lakeside Transportation, Waukegan
- RichLee Vans, Aurora
- RichLee Vans, Arlington Heights
- RichLee Vans, Chicago Ridge
- RichLee Vans, Villa Park
To ensure that our drivers are fully trained in handling special needs vehicles and students, we created an indoors custom training facility, allowing our drivers to have hands on training in a classroom environment without going outdoors. The training area has a full-size special needs bus with a lift that has been remodeled with Plexiglas along one side. This allows all trainees to observe proper procedures for loading, unloading and properly securing all types of special needs children either in a wheel chair or in a conventional school bus seat.
The training we provide to our drivers and aides also includes a special sensitivity training session for all special needs drivers and aides. This training is above and beyond state regulations. All of our drivers are specially trained to handle students with learning disorders, behavioral disorders and children with autism. The special training also includes awareness of different types of seizures and how to handle them in an emergency.
We currently have 40 child securement systems and have the ability to obtain the appropriate child securement systems as needed as the student population changes. We use the Q-Straint/ Sure-Lok Wheelchair Tie-Down System for all of our wheel chair passengers.
All vehicles have Zonar GPS installed to enable the district to trace a vehicle at any time, replay a specific route, check exact mileages and times and enable the district to check billing for transportation reimbursement. (This also includes Zonar’s “Ground Traffic Control.”)