Dear School Board Directors:
The Transportation Standards for 2016-17 were introduced at the School Board meeting on October 21, 2015. They include a new provision that affects students receiving special education services. Specifically, the new Transportation Standards propose to create an exception to the District’s legal requirement of providing transportation for certain special education students. The following exception is proposed to be added to the Transportation Standards:
District transportation will not be provided for [special education] students that are enrolled in a school other than their assigned school by parent/guardian and/or student choice.
Special education students are entitled to transportation as set forth in the IDEA and as decided by IEP teams. Issues such as assignment plans, administrative convenience, and capacity management cannot interfere with an IEP team’s decision on appropriate placement. As past OSPI citizen complaints have noted, capacity management concerns and assignment of special education students can, and has, been shown to be arbitrary, not in the students’ best interest, and/or carried out without a proper IEP (e.g. Pinehurst/Licton Springs, and Old Van Asselt). A school district policy cannot override the district’s legal responsibility to provide transportation to special education students. The district is heading in the wrong direction with this proposal.
We strongly urge you not to vote in favor of the new Transportation Standards unless this provision is deleted. If the new Transportation Standards are adopted with this language, you should expect challenges from the families of special education students. Please request the Superintendent to remove this provision from the Standards.
Cecilia McCormick, President -Seattle Special Education PTSA
Janis White, Parent Advocate
Lori Hiltz, Vice-President
Ayn McNutt, Treasurer
Michael Minard, Secretary
Mary Griffin, Legislative Chair
Lauren Feaux, Staff Representative