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SPA Schools - Schools with "School-Parent Agreements"

For those 'new' schools wishing to become a SPA School, please email the NSSTAS (Non State Schools Transport Assistance Scheme) in the first instance, as certain processes must be followed.

School-Parent Agreement (SPA) involves the school:

  1. Paying the bus fares on behalf of the parent (e.g. those in financial difficulties),
  2. Charging the parent for the weekly threshold* (as well as any fares above the School Transport Maximum Cash Fare Schedule (STMCFS) depending on school policy), and
  3. Being reimbursed the weekly bus fares (less the weekly threshold) twice a year - if the application is successful.

The school is NOT eligible to claim a credit for any GST paid to transport providers related to NSSTAS arrangements. Transport of students to and from school is a taxable supply unless the non-commercial activity tests apply. Schools should ensure income and expenditure in relation to payments received via NSSTAS are transacted through a clearing account and not recorded as either income or expenditure. This is because the school is acting as an agent on behalf of parents. The bus company is responsible for remitting the bus fare related GST to the government.

*The weekly threshold implicitly includes GST already. Schools should not add GST to the weekly threshold.

Please email the NSSTAS if further clarification is required. (NSSTAS Reference: CIRCULAR No: 2007/152).

To facilitate the SPA process, all SPA Schools must enter into a SPA agreement with the parent.

A new agreement or a modified agreement should be completed for:

  • a family that is new to participating in the School’s SPA arrangements, or
  • a new student (of an existing family that already has a SPA agreement) commencing at the school.

SPA Schools & NSSTAS Processes each Semester

NSSTAS will send the SPA School a reminder email of the dates and processes specific to each semester as per the table below:

Indicative Timeframe each Semester* Activity
A: Ongoing SPA Schools retain for their records a completed Agreement (with the wording as required by Centrelink) signed by the parent entering into this arrangement.
B: March / August SPA Schools submit Bus Fare Assistance applications for the current semester, after NSSTAS has emailed SPA Schools their special link and Access Token with pre-filled application information from the previous semester.

SPA Schools should note that weeks absent or not catching the bus can be updated at Item D below.
C: May / October SPA Schools submit applications for families missed in Item B above (e.g. new families or late starters catching the bus).
D: June / November SPA Schools receive the "Confirmation of Student Details” Report so they can amend or update application information e.g. student weeks absent or not catching the bus in the "...weeks..." column. SPA Schools advise NSSTAS of any applications that need to be withdrawn.
E: July / December NSSTAS aim to pay the SPA School and email one payment advice with an attached PDF summarising the payment breakdown.

*SPA Schools are asked to please consult with NSSTAS if there is a difficulty meeting these time frames. We will seek to minimise disruption in school offices during the busy weeks at the start and end of term.

SPA Schools and Students With Disability (SWD) travelling on SPA bus

We ask SPA Schools to:

  • NOT charge a threshold to families with only SWD students (as the threshold only applies for students in the Bus Fare Assistance Program),
  • use the Access Token area to lodge an SWD application, and apply for ONLY the bus (not car) component of SWD travel, and
  • invite new SPA parents of SWD bus students to apply at separately from the school for ONLY their car travel to/from the bus pick up point (if applicable). NSSTAS endeavours to send an email reminder to the parent for future application rounds.

Schools, Bus Companies, or other groups seeking to develop new NSSTAS approved routes outside DTMR contracted areas should contact us via the Contact Us tab.