On April 10, 2014, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Kimberly Area School District. This is the department’s decision on the complaint. The issue is whether the district, during the 2013-14 school year, properly determined transportation for a student with a disability.
The student was determined eligible for special education on February 24, 2014. After considering placement in the student’s home or daycare, the student’s IEP team determined the appropriate placement for the student was two days per week in the district’s early childhood program. The IEP specified specialized transportation, two days per week, to and from locations within district boundaries as a related service. On March 14, the student’s IEP team met again to discuss, among other things, transportation arrangements for the student. At the meeting, the parents requested the district provide transportation from the early childhood program site to the student’s daycare. The student’s daycare is located outside the district’s geographical boundaries. The parents assert the daycare provides a small stable environment for the student, which has led to improvement in the student’s development and socialization. The district responded to the parents’ request on March 26, 2014, offering to arrange a cab to transport the student to and from both the early childhood program site and the student’s daycare, with the district paying the portion of the fare related to transportation within district boundaries and the parents responsible for the remaining portion.
School districts in Wisconsin are not required, by state law, to provide general pupil transportation outside of district boundaries except under circumstances which do not apply to the student in this matter, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act does not require otherwise under the circumstances of this case. In this matter, the student’s IEP team considered whether placement at the parents’ home or preferred daycare was appropriate to provide the student a free appropriate public education, and determined the district’s early childhood program met the student’s needs. The preschool where the student spent the remainder of the day was a private decision made by the parents. The district reasonably responded, consistent with state law and district policy, to the parents request by offering to arrange for a cab ride for the student and covering the portion of the costs represented by in-district travel. The district properly determined transportation for the student.
This concludes our review of this complaint, which we are closing.
//signed CST 5/21/2014
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support