As we have said many times before, students with special needs have just as much of a right to a proper education as any other student. In order to achieve this, these students often require special services including modified transportation to get to and from school. If the school district does not offer these services, the student could miss out on the benefits of an education and the school district could find itself facing potential issues for this decision.
This could be the case for a school district to our north, in the town of Stockton. Recently this month, a controversial decision was made by board members from the Stockton Unified School District that could lead to the sale of 31 special-education buses. And although the final decision to sell the buses will need to pass through another vote, the sale is looking likely, which raises question about how this decision will affect students in the long run.
The school district has long provide transportation to special-education students using contracts through Storer Transportation. But when a former SUSD transportation director pointed out last year that the school district could save money by using its own drivers and buses, the purchase of the buses was unanimously agreed upon. Now, school board members are reconsidering the purchase and would like to sell them back while the buses are still in good condition.
Although the school district has an obligation to provide transportation to its special-education students, Storer Transportation does not have to continue business with the district if it does not want to. If the school successfully sells the buses but fails to secure another contract with a transportation service, then some special-education students in the district may not have the access to the education they deserve. This could have consequences for the school district as well and may even lead to potential litigation depending on how the situation pans out in the weeks and months to come.
Source: Recordnet.com, "SUSD will sell never-used special-ed buses," Kevin Parrish, Aug. 18, 2014