Students with Disabilities

Q. What are the school district responsibilities for students with disabilities?

A student with a disability is entitled to suitable transportation, as specified in the child's Individual Education Plan (IEP), to and from special classes or programs up to fifty miles from the home of such student. The Commissioner may approve placement in excess of fifty miles if no appropriate non-residential special service or program is available within fifty miles. The cost of transporting students with disabilities between home and a residential school shall be aidable for no more than three round trips in a ten month program and four round trips in a twelve month program in addition to the first and last trips.

The cost of transporting resident students with disabilities is aided pursuant to subdivision 7 of Section 3602 of the Education Law. The aid is paid during the school year following the year in which the transportation is provided. Transportation Aid is calculated in the same way for all major school districts (city, central, union free and common).

Department of Mental Hygiene Students:

Chapter 47 of the Laws of 1977 amended Section 3202 of the Education Law by adding Subdivision 5, par. (a) and (b). Under this Chapter, the Department of Mental Hygiene may place a student in a family home at board, a duly incorporated orphan asylum or other institution. The district, in which that home or institution is located, through its committee on special education must determine if there is a public or nonpublic special education day program in the area which will meet the needs of the student. That district must transport the students to and from the site where the student is educated and the cost of that transportation is reimbursed pursuant to subdivision 7 of Section 3602 of the Education Law. If the board of education can satisfy the Commissioner of Education that there are valid and sufficient reasons to refuse to receive the student, the board is no longer responsible for the education or the transportation of the student. If services are provided, the district has the option of billing the student's district of residence for the difference between transportation cost and Transportation Aid.

Office of Mental Health and Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Students:

Chapter 66 of the Laws of 1978 amended Subdivision 5 of Section 3202 of the Education Law by adding par. (c) relating to the provision of public day school education for students with disabilities residing in facilities of the Office of Mental Health (OMH) and the Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (OMR/DD). The cost of transporting these students between the OMH hospital or OMR/DD school and the public school in which they are educated is paid by either OMH or OMR/DD. In no case does the public school district pay costs of transportation for these students. OMH or OMR/DD may contract with the school district to provide transportation service.

Intermediate Care Facilities Students:

Chapter 721 of the Laws of 1979 amended Subdivision 5 of Section 3202 of the Education Law by adding par. (d) relating to the provision of public or private day school education for students with disabilities residing in an Intermediate Care Facility (ICF). The cost of transporting these students between the ICF and the public or private school in which they are educated is paid to the school district in which the ICF is located which then either keeps the funds or pays the appropriate vendor. The school district may provide the transportation by either district-owned or private contract school buses.

Twelve Month Education Program:

Section 4408 of the Education Law requires local school districts to provide special education services to certain students with disabilities during the months of July and August. This program covers any students whose disabilities are severe enough to exhibit the need for a structured learning environment of 12 month duration to maintain their developmental levels. The State pays 80% aid for approved and verified transportation costs on a current year basis under this program. Aid is claimed through the System to Track and Account for Children (STAC) on a child by child basis. For additional information, please contact the STAC Unit. Expenditures incurred and State Aid revenues received for transportation services provided to students with disabilities in July and August under the Section 4408 program are to be reported by the district in the Special Aid Fund.

Last Updated: April 21, 2009