When transportation is provided under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), it must be provided at no cost to a parent. Transportation, like other services approved in the IEP, is part of a “free appropriate public education.” When a school district approves the placement of a disabled student in a program it does not operate, it must ensure that transportation is provided at no cost to the parents.
In some instances, parents are requested to transport their child and agree to do so. In these instances, it is the responsibility of the school district to inform the parents of their entitlement to reimbursement for this service. Neither IDEA nor Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 set a reimbursement schedule for parent-provided transportation.
When a parent agrees to provide transportation, the rate of reimbursement should be determined before initiating the service. Many school districts use typical employee travel reimbursement tables. If the parent and the school district do not agree on the amount of the reimbursement allowance, a dispute could result in a request for a due process hearing.
Source: Transporting Students with Disabilities by Linda Bluth. Published by the National Association for Pupil Transportation, www.napt.org.