Empire Gardens Elementary
Empire Gardens Elementary

Meal Program

At San José Unified, we believe student nutrition is a key component of a well-rounded education. We constantly strive to meet the nutritional needs of our students while ensuring our schools promote a healthy and active learning environment.

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MySchoolBucks Donation Portal

Now Open! Introducing: MySchoolBucks Donation Portal!

This online payment service provides an easy way to make school related donations using your credit/debit card or electronic check. Can be used for science camp donations, fieldtrip donations and so much more! Choose from Parent/Student Portal or Community Portal.

Parent/Student Portal:

  • Convenience - Available 24/7 on the web.
  • Efficiency - Make purchases for all your students, even if they attend different schools within the district.  Eliminate the need for your students to take money to school.
  • Flexibility - Make payments using credit/debit cards and electronic checks.
  • Security – MySchoolBucks adheres to the highest security standards.

*Please Note: for donations over $1,000, the preferred method of payment is via check as SJUSD pays a processing fee for donations made.

Visit MySchoolBucks.com

Enrollment is easy!

If you are already using MySchoolBucks to pay for school meals, your account is set-up and ready to go! Just log in and click on School Store.  If you don’t have an account follow the steps below:

  1. Go to www.MySchoolBucks.com and register for a free account.
  2. Add your students using their school name and student ID.
  3. Click School Store at the top of the page and select Browse All Items
  4. Select your fee(s) and add it to your cart
  5. Make purchases with your credit/debit card or electronic check.
  6. A program fee may apply.  You will have the opportunity to review any fees and cancel if you choose, before you are charged.
  7. Check out!

Community Portal:

No need to create an account. Just click HERE and pick the school and specific donation recipient.
*Please Note: for donations over $1,000, the preferred method of payment is via check as SJUSD pays a processing fee for donations made.


Meal Payments


Free and Reduced-Price Meals

Each year, all of our families are asked to complete and return an application to qualify for our Free and Reduced-Price Meals program (FRPM). Regardless of your family’s income or student’s grade level, this will ensure that students have access to all available resources the district can provide.

Income Eligibility Guidelines


AP/IB Exam Discount

Please note that the 2020-2021 deadline to qualify for the AP/IB exam discount by submitting a free and reduced-price meal (FRPM) application has passed. Families who completed and returned the annual FRPM application by the appropriate deadline – regardless of their household income or FRPM program eligibility – will have the cost of all AP and/or IB exams for their student(s) reduced to $5.


Transportation Information

San José Unified offers school transportation to students who are eligible. Students must live within District boundaries to be eligible for transportation. Elementary school students (grades TK-5) who do not attend a magnet, charter, International Baccalaureate (IB), and/or Two-Way Bilingual Immersion (TWBI) school are eligible for transportation if they live 1.5 miles or more from their school of attendance.

Elementary students who attend a magnet, IB or TWBI school may be provided transportation on a courtesy basis as routes and space are available. Transportation for eligible students attending a district charter school is only provided from within the school’s attendance boundary. Students attending most secondary schools (grades 6-12) are eligible for transportation if they live 3.5 miles or more from their school of attendance.


How to Apply

A transportation application must be completed on an annual basis and must be on file and approved before the student can receive transportation services.

Transportation Fees

Families may be required to pay a fee to receive transportation services. Fees that have not been paid in prior years will prevent an application for the current year from being approved. Service will be provided by school bus, VTA, or other means of transportation at the district’s discretion.


Bus Routes & Stops

Each school bus has a route number posted on both sides of the bus. It is important that students learn their route numbers. Bus stops are typically placed at a specific corner or address. Check the stop description on your student’s bus pass for more information.

Arrive On Time

Please ensure that your student is at the bus stop at least five minutes prior to the current published departure time. If the bus is on time, it will leave the stop at the published time. The bus will not leave early. Students who miss the bus at their designated stop must travel to the next available stop or find their own transportation to or from school on that day.

Safety at Bus Stops

If a student needs to cross the street to get to or from their bus stop, they should use a signal-controlled intersection whenever possible. If the bus stop is not at or near a signal-controlled intersection, the student must be escorted by the driver when the bus is at the bus stop.

Students should wait for direction from the driver and should not cross the street until directed to do so. At that time, they should cross between the driver and the bus.

Change of Route

From time to time, the Transportation Department will make changes to bus routes to improve efficiency and better serve our students. Parents and students will be notified of these changes via a ParentLink/Blackboard message and/or a paper notification from a bus driver. Special education students will be notified by their driver.

Parents are encouraged to maintain up-to-date contact information with the Enrollment Center to ensure you receive timely notification of route changes and other important and valuable information.

Change of Stop

A student is required to board and disembark every day at the bus stop that was assigned to them by the Transportation Department and is printed on their bus pass or the driver’s roster. If a student wants to board at a different stop in the morning for one day only, their parent must call the Transportation Department for authorization. To disembark at a different stop, they must have a note from their parent, signed by the principal or designee of the school, and given to the driver of the bus.

Activity Runs and Special Schedules

Certain schools have buses that transport students home after the school’s normal dismissal time. Other schools may have special schedules at different times during the year. For efficiency, the Transportation Department maintains a list of stops that are equivalent to each other, where one stop is used interchangeably with the other, to service students living in a particular area

In order to get the students home as quickly as possible, the bus will use one stop or the other depending on, among other factors, direction of travel of the bus. Students and parents must understand the bus may drop them off at a different, but equivalent, stop than where they are normally dropped off. Contact the Transportation Department for specific information on what stops are used in your area.



With the exception of kindergartners and certain students with special needs, all students are considered to be “self-release” and able to walk home by themselves. Students will be released by the bus driver at the current published drop-off time, regardless of whether a parent or guardian is at the stop to meet the child, unless a form requesting the student be held on the bus has been completed annually and signed by a Transportation Administrator.

Special Needs

Students with special needs who have a self-release form on file are expected to use a transitional or community/corner stop. Kindergarten parents should be ready to pick up their student at least five minutes before the published arrival time in the afternoon. Other students may also be required to be met at the bus stop per arrangement with the bus driver.

Undeliverable Students

If a parent or guardian is not at the bus stop at the published arrival time, the student is unwilling to depart the bus, the student is not self-release, and/or the parent has completed a form to hold the student on the bus unless the student is met, the student will not be released and will be deemed “undeliverable”.

Holding Schools

Kindergartners and certain students with special needs who are not met at the bus stop may be taken to a holding school that is convenient for the bus. Families whose student has been taken to the holding school more than once, or who is not picked up in a reasonable amount of time, may be referred to the authorities.


Student Safety & Conduct

Students riding on a bus equipped with seat belts are required to wear them at all times. For safety, most buses are also equipped with a video and audio surveillance system, as well as GPS tracking systems. These systems allow the district to check where a bus was/is at any point in time.

For more information about expectations for student conduct, discipline, and emergency procedures, please refer to the Transportation Information section of the Parent/Student Handbook

Safety Instruction

At least once each school year, all students who receive home-to-school transportation on a school bus will receive safety instruction.This includes but is not limited to: loading and unloading procedures; passenger conduct; driver escorts; safe road crossings; evacuation and location of emergency equipment; and the passenger restraint system (if applicable).


Students are expected to have used the toilet before boarding the bus. It is impractical and unlawful for a driver to allow a student off the bus at a place other than their bus stop or school to use a restroom.


If a student is ill, and is the only one at a stop, please contact the Transportation Dispatch office at (408) 535-6185. They will contact the driver to let them know not to go to that stop. Drivers are forbidden from using their phones while driving.

Personal Items

Each item a student takes to school must be clearly marked with the student’s name. In case of lost items, check with your school or the bus driver. San José Unified is not responsible for personal electronics, cell phones, or any other belongings.

Prohibited Items

The following are not permitted on a school bus: animals, glass containers, balloons, skateboards, scooters, and laser pointers. Prior permission from the Transportation Department is required to transport large items.


Services for Outside Groups

Schools and groups outside of San José Unified who wish to use Transportation Department services on field trips must complete and submit an application along with other required documents. The application must be approved by our Board of Education before any service can be provided.

Click here to download and complete an application



Transportation Department
San José Unified School District
2222 Unified Way
San José, CA 95125

Phone: (408) 535-6185
Fax: (408) 535-2331
Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)




Absence Reporting