(a) The allowance for transportation for those local boards of education providing same shall be determined as follows for any local board of education: The number of pupils transported on transportation routes approved under regulations of the State Board of Education shall be multiplied by an amount per pupil which is to be fixed by the State Board of Education and applied to local boards of education within groups having similar density of population; provided, that studies shall be made from time to time to determine whether the cost allowed per pupil or the cost unit should be changed in any or all local boards of education. In determining the amount to be allotted for transportation, said allotment shall include an allowance for transportation in accordance with the provisions of Section 16-39-11; however, no allowance shall be made for transporting pupils who live less than two miles from the school they are attending unless such pupils can be shown to be disabled and require transportation. Upon a petition to the State Superintendent of Education by the local board of education, the two mile limit may be waived by the State Superintendent of Education to protect the safety of the children. The total amount allotted any local board of education for transportation shall not exceed a figure determined by the State Board of Education in terms of the ratio between pupils transported to school and the total number of pupils attending school in the jurisdiction of such local board of education or some similar ratio established by the State Board of Education. Any local board of education which qualifies for a transportation allowance must provide buses which meet minimum standards established by the State Board of Education and must take such other steps to protect the safety of the children as are required under regulations of the State Board of Education.
(b) The allowance for transportation provided in (a) above shall include funding for depreciation based on a depreciation schedule established by the State Board of Education. The depreciation funding included in the transportation allowance shall be set aside in a restricted fund by the local boards of education for fleet renewal only and shall not be used for operating costs. These transportation cost allowance depreciation funds shall not revert to the Education Trust Fund but shall be carried forward from fiscal year to fiscal year to renew the transportation fleet of the local boards of education.