Transportation: SPECIAL TRANSPORTATION IN 504 PLAN

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Jeff:  Can a student receive special transportation in a 504 Plan?

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6 Comments on "Transportation: SPECIAL TRANSPORTATION IN 504 PLAN"

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I am advocating for a family whose child became wheelchair-dependant last week. This will likely continue for many months. The child already receives transportation under her IEP. The parents provided the school with a physician’s letter explaining that the child needs to use her wheelchair in school and that she needs access to the school elevators. It did not mention wheelchair accessible transportation. The district refuses to provide the transportation for this reason. The doctor will not be available to provide another note for several weeks, so the child is missing classes in the meantime. Must the family provide more documentation or can we argue that the district has enough information to be on notice of the student’s need for accessible transportation?

Audrey, the comments by Jill G and Chuck apply in this child’s situation except that your client already receives transportation under an IEP. The child’s needs have changed so she needs wheelchair accessible transportation. This transportation is needed for her to attend school and receive a FAPE.

The parent needs to write a letter to the team. Describe the child’s changed needs and request an IEP meeting to amend the IEP to include wheelchair accessible transportation that is needed to meet these needs.

What about a student who has Spina Bifida so is in a wheelchair, is on a 504 Plan (not an IEP) and who lives within walking distance of the school. Would the district be required to provide special transportation under Section 504?

Possibly, if the lack of transportation would prevent them from getting to school.

Jeff –

Yes, a student can *potentially* receive transportation via a 504 Plan. In fact, transportation is specifically listed in the Section 504 regulations as an example of a service that may be provided to students.

As I’m sure you know, Section 504 requires schools to provide qualified students with disabilities a free appropriate public education. This means a school must provide the student with the supports and services he/she needs to allow him/her equal access to education – unless such aids would substantially alter the nature of the program or create an undue financial burden

What specific supports and services a student needs is an individual determination that is based on his/her needs. This determination is made by the student’s 504 Team.

So in order to receive transportation as part of the 504 Plan the student’s 504 Team would need to determine it is necessary for the student to access education, and the school would need to decide that it doesn’t substantially alter the program or create a financial burden.

Most schools already provide some sort of transportation, so its unlikely to substantially alter the program and only likely to be a financial burden in smaller districts. That generally leaves the necessity of it as the major hurdle to get over.

I am not aware of anything that says this cannot be done. I doubt that many districts would provide it, since they get no 504 funding. Making this request in writing puts your concerns on the record.

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