Specialized Transportation for Students Receiving Special Education Services
Some students with disabilities may receive “specialized transportation” as part of either their Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or Section 504 Plan (504 Plan). In order to be eligible for specialized transportation, an IEP team or 504 team must determine that specialized transportation is a service that is required to assist a student with a disability to benefit from special education or is required to provide equal access to the regular education environment. The IEP team may also determine that a student requires specialized transportation during extended school year (ESY) services. If your child is a student with a disability and you believe that he or she requires specialized transportation, please contact your child’s case manager.
Additional information regarding students receiving specialized transportation:
Specialized transportation of non-disabled children who live in the same household
Often specialized transportation routes are either full or will fill up throughout the school year as new students with disabilities are identified and qualify for specialized transportation. Specialized transportation routes also frequently change to accommodate newly added riders. Consequently, only students with disabilities who require specialized transportation may ride on routes/vehicles that have been designated for specialized transportation. There may be a narrow exception to this practice for students who are determined to be homeless (see Transportation Services for Students Determined to be Homeless section below).
Transportation outside District boundaries
Generally, students who are receiving specialized transportation and who are attending MMSD schools are not entitled to be transported outside of the District’s boundaries or their attendance area. For example, the District will not transport a student with a disability to a daycare located in a neighboring district or in another attendance area. The practice of not providing transportation outside of District boundaries or outside the assigned attendance area is applicable to all MMSD students.
An exception to this practice may occur when a student with a disability is placed by an IEP team at a school or facility outside of the District’s boundaries or outside of the child’s attendance area and the student requires specialized transportation to and from that school or facility.
There may be another narrow exception to this practice for students who are determined to be homeless (see Transportation Services for Students Determined to be Homeless section below).
Transportation to schools other than the student’s school of residence
There are three scenarios in which a student with a disability may attend a school other than the student’s school of residence (i.e. the school the child would attend based upon the attendance area for the student’s residence). Those scenarios are: 1) Request for an internal transfer; 2) Administrative transfer; and 3) IEP placement.
If a student is attending or seeks to attend an MMSD school that is not their school of residence by way of a parental request for an internal transfer, the student will not be entitled to receive specialized transportation to the non-resident school. As long as the student continues to be eligible to receive specialized transportation, the student will continue to be entitled to receive specialized transportation to his or her school of residence. However, the student will not be entitled to specialized transportation to and from the requested non-resident school.
If a student is attending an MMSD school that is not their school of residence by way of an administrative transfer and the student is eligible to receive specialized transportation, the student is entitled to specialized transportation to and from the non-resident school.
If a student is attending an MMSD school that is not their school of residence by way of a placement made by the IEP team and the student is eligible to receive specialized transportation, the student is entitled to specialized transportation to and from the non-resident school.
Providing specialized transportation on your own
The District has developed a procedure by which a parent of a child who is eligible for specialized transportation may enter into a contract to transport their child on their own and obtain reimbursement from the District. The amount of reimbursement will be calculated by multiplying the number of miles required to transport the student to and from school (one round trip only) by the IRS standard mileage rate (56.5 cents per mile for the 2013 calendar year). If you wish to discuss entering into a parent contract, please contact your child’s special education teacher.
It is rare that a student will need assistance from the front door of a residence to the vehicle. However, if door-to-door assistance is required in order for a student to benefit from his or her special education programming, then the District is required to provide such transportation services. The District will not provide assistance inside a student’s home or beyond the threshold of the front door of the home.
The determination of whether door-to-door service is necessary must be made by an IEP or 504 team. If you believe that your child requires door-to-door transportation, please contact your child’s special education teacher.
Increased supervision or one-on-one assistance during transport
The determination of whether one-on-one support or increased supervision is necessary during transport is an IEP team determination. Consequently, your child’s IEP team may determine that your child requires such support. If you believe that your child requires one-on-one support or increased supervision during transport, please contact your child’s special education teacher.
Pick-up or drop-off at different stops on different days of the week
Parents are encouraged to have only one pick-up and drop-off location for their child so as to avoid confusion during the week. If necessary, however, the District does allow parents to select different locations during the annual enrollment process. All pick-up and drop-off locations must be within the attendance area for the student’s assigned school.
If a student who receives specialized transportation is either administratively transferred to or placed by their IEP or 504 team at a school that is not within the attendance area associated with the student’s primary residence, the student may receive specialized transportation to locations within the attendance area of the school they are attending or within the attendance area associated with the student’s primary residence.
Pick-up or drop-off at times other than the beginning or end of the school day
Unless your child’s IEP team determines that he or she requires a shortened school day, specialized transportation will occur at approximately the same time that all other transportation is occurring for your child’s school. For example, if your child attends an early start school, specialized transportation will be provided so that your child will arrive at school at approximately 7:45 a.m. and leave school at approximately 2:30.