New Federal Ruling: Students with Disabilities Must be Enrolled in Local District to Access ServicesJanuary 22, 2013
Special Education “Extraordinary Aid”: New ThresholdsJanuary 24, 2013
New Jersey’s Interdistrict Public School Choice Program, which allows kids to cross district boundaries to attend public schools outside of their residential area, has a new umbrella group: the New Jersey Interdistrict Public School Choice Association.
This association intends to address some “confusion and controversy about issues either not specified in the Program Act, or unforeseen by the legislative process.” One of those issues is that the bill’s language requires sending districts (the child’s home district) to provide transportation to the receiving district (the choice school) if that school’s within 20 miles or, alternatively, provide “aide in lieu of transportation,” about $800 per year. Districts are obligated to go with the cheaper alternative, almost always the latter. So some parents decline to participate in the interdistrict program because $800 doesn’t begin to cover the costs of getting their kid back and forth to a non-district school.
From the website:
In the original choice pilot program, the choice district was responsible for transportation from the resident district. When the program was signed into law in 2010, a new provision was added to make busing the responsibility of the resident district. The idea was to make choice busing and charter school busing similar.
As we have learned since then, this change has caused many problems with the program, and many parents end up not participating in choice because of the lack of busing–especially in urban districts. Aid-in-lieu payments don’t mean much to a parent who doesn’t have a car.