Transportation for special education students is considered a related service. California Education Code Section 56040 states that “every individual with exceptional needs who is eligible to receive special education instruction and related services under this part, shall receive that instruction and those services at no cost to his or her parents or, as appropriate, to him or her.” Transportation is required if it is necessary for the student to access special instruction and/or services as determined by their IEP, including non-academic and extracurricular services and activities. As in the case of any special education program, this service must be provided to meet the criteria for a free, appropriate public education (FAPE).
10.1 Determination of Eligibility for Special Education Transportation
Before an IEP Team can discuss adding a ‘service’ to a student’s IEP there needs to be an informal ‘assessment’ or determination of eligibility. In order to evaluate this at the Sweetwater Union High School District, the IEP Team will complete the Transportation form in the Electronic IEP system which reviews the criteria for eligibility.
IDEA defines transportation to include:
- Travel to and from school and between schools
- Travel in and around school buildings
- Specialized equipment (such as special or adapted buses, lifts, and ramps), if required to provide special transportation for a child with a disability
1. The IEP team must complete the Transportation form in the district’s Electronic IEP system for each student being considered for special education transportation. This will result in a determination as to whether or not the student requires transportation services.
- The site nurse must participate in determining specialized transportation services for students designated as medically physically challenged, technology dependent or having significant health impairments.
- Transportation department staff must participate in IEP team meetings if the team will discuss equipment needs, Level of service (LOS) needs, route considerations for students with specific medical needs or if a student has had previous behavioral issues on the bus. Contact your site Transportation Liason.
- Transportation department staff participation, when needed, may be accomplished via personal attendance at the IEP team meeting or by a conference call.
2. After a determination of eligibility for special education transportation as a related service is made, the Case Manager must document the discussion regarding eligibility on page 1 of the IEP. Complete documentation on Team Action, if applicable. If the parent is declining services and wishes to transport the student on their own this will need to be documented.
3. The Case Manager will then complete and follow the guidelines on the Transportation Form. No parent signature is required on the form. Theform must be faxed to the Special Education Transportation clerk at the number indicated on the bottom of the form. Incomplete packets will be returned to you, potentially causing a delay in requested transportation.
4. Parents must be informed that they are responsible to provide the necessary supervision and direction to ensure their child’s safe and timely arrival at the scheduled stop 10 minutes before the anticipated arrival of the school bus. Likewise, the parent must ensure the supervision is available at least 10 minutes before the anticipated arrival of the school bus in the afternoon.
- Pick-up or release of a rider WILL NOT BE MADE on private property or at a location determined to be unsafe.
10.2 Mileage Reimbursement
Mileage reimbursement to parents is considered a mode of service outside of the guidelines for typical service to students with special needs and must be approved by the Special Education Manager Operations before it can be discussed at an IEP meeting. In rare cases where it is determined by the IEP team, after consultation with special education administration, that the district elects to reimburse the parent for transportation they provide for their child to attend a school, a specified program or a specified provision of services, the decision to offer reimbursement must be documented on the Team Action page of the student’s IEP.
Appropriate staff must complete the Reimbursement Form and submit it for approval by a Special Education Program Manager. The Reimbursement Form is then forwarded to the Transportation Clerk. Contact your district level support person for further information.