Special Education Transportation in San Diego
California Education Code Section 56040 states: “Every individual with exceptional needs who is eligible to receive special education instruction and related services under this part [Part 30] shall receive that instruction and those services at no cost to his or her parents or, as appropriate, to him or her.”
Special education transportation is considered a related service. (34 C.F.R. Section 300.34(c)(16).) Education Code Section 41580(d) defines special education transportation as:
(1) The transportation of severely disabled special day class pupils, and orthopedically impaired pupils who require a vehicle with a wheelchair lift, who received transportation in the prior fiscal year, as specified in their individualized educational program.
(2) A vehicle that was used to transport special education pupils.
Each school district is required to adopt polices for the programs and services it operates, including policies regarding special education transportation.
A school district representative, commonly referred to a local education agency (“LEA”) representative, who attends an IEP meeting must be knowledgeable of the school district's transportation and/or procedures in regard to transportation and the delivery and implementation of services to eligible students.
The specific needs of the student are the primary concern when an IEP Team determines his or her transportation needs. These concerns include, but are not limited to:
(1) Physical accessibility. The IEP Team will consider the accessibility to sidewalks, streets, curbsides, and the public transportation system.
(2) Medical and health concerns. The IEP Team will consider whether lengthy bus rides might adversely affect the student's health. They will take into the duration, internal temperature, health emergencies that might arise, and the need of on-bus services.
(3) Behavioral needs. If the student has a behavioral intervention plan (“BIP”), the IEP Team will consider how the plan will be implemented while the student is being transported.
Options for Special Education Transportation
Depending on the unique needs of the student, transportation options may include, but are not limited to:
(2) riding the regular school bus;
(3) taking public transportation;
(5) van or small bus; and
(6) parental transportation with mileage reimbursement.
Because special education transportation is a related service, it must be documented in the student's IEP. The documentation should provide enough details to inform as to how, when, and from where to where the transportation will be provided. Likewise, if the transportation will involve the school district reimbursing parents for transportation-related expenses, the IEP should include the amount and frequency of the reimbursement. Mileage reimbursement is typically at the IRS mileage rate.