Category L: Education Agency Relations
Procedure L1: Transportation Reimbursement for Pupils Attending Private Schools in the District
Consistent with state law, the District provides transportation reimbursement for pupils who reside in the district but choose to attend private schools rather than participate in the available public education option. Reimbursement is informed by MGL, Ch 76, Sec. 1, which established the principle that private school students shall be transported “to the same extent” as public school students, specifically stating that these students “shall be entitled to the same rights and privileges as to transportation to and from school as are provided by law for pupils of public schools.”
Consistent with 2009 DESE Guidance, eligibility of students is based on the district’s acceptance of Chapter 663 of the Acts of 1983 which amended MGL Ch. 71, Sec. 76. Until such time as the School Committee votes to accept Chapter 663, the district is bound only by the eligibility standards set forth in the original pre-1983 statute regarding compulsory attendance.
However, given that the DESE guidance indicates that eligibility age for students is at the discretion of the district,the District has adopted the broader eligibility for students; there is no age or grade limits on eligible students receiving transportation reimbursement.
Additionally, students are eligible if:
- They are attending an approved private (non-charter) school and the distance from the students’ home to the private school exceeds two miles or another minimum distance established by the School Committee for public school students.
- They are attending an approved private (non-charter) school beyond the boundaries of the district. (In this case, the District shall not be required to provide reimbursement “further than the distance from the residence of such pupil to the public school he is entitled to attend.”
Reimbursement shall only be made for eligible students and their families.
The district has adopted the per school reimbursement rate as the basis for private school reimbursement. This shall be used in all instances. Reimbursement shall not exceed the annual per pupil expenditure as determined by the available annual state financial reports.
Reimbursement by the district shall be based upon the concept of vehicle usage rather than based upon the number of students being transported. If multiple children in a household are attending private school, reimbursement will be determined in comparison to the number of vehicles that would have been necessary to transport them to public school in the district.
No reimbursement will be provided if the student can be transported by existing school bus service provided by the district.
Students who do not attend a school making them eligible for a transportation reimbursement for a full year may have this reimbursement prorated as appropriate.
Parents should complete the appropriate form in December for fall semester reimbursements, and again in May for spring semester reimbursements. Requests should not be submitted before December or May, since it is not possible to verify a student’s attendance. Copies of the form are available upon request from the Superintendent’s Office.
Forms should then be sent to the student’s school principal for verification of attendance. The school principal will forward this form to the District’s Business Office.
Fall reimbursement requests should be received in the Business Office by January 15 and spring requests for reimbursement should be received no later than May 30.
Reimbursement for those eligible to receive them will be made in two payments: the first during January and the second during June of each school year. In no case can a reimbursement be paid after June 30 for the preceding school year period.
MGL, Chapter 76, Section 1
DESE Guidance, September 2009
Chapter 663 of the Acts of 1983(not available online)