Answer: We have some brand new federal guidance on that question. It’s new Question J-12 of the McKinney-Vento Guidance update issued on March 3, 2017.
When crossing state lines, the allocation of transportation costs should follow the McKinney-Vento Act’s requirements, even for students with transportation as a related service on their IEPs. McKinney-Vento states that the 2 LEAs involved must “agree upon a method to apportion the responsibility and costs for providing the child or youth with transportation to and from the school of origin. If the local educational agencies are unable to agree upon such method, the responsibility and costs for transportation shall be shared equally.” 42 USC 11432(g)(1)(J)(iii)(II).
Therefore, the 2 LEAs can enter into any cost-sharing agreement they wish. In fact, the Guidance states that when an LEA is being reimbursed for a portion or all of the cost of providing transportation as a related service, or if McKinney-Vento or Title IA funds permit, the SEA may “recommend or offer that this LEA pay more than half of the cost.” In the absence of an agreement, the LEAs split the cost evenly.
The new Guidance also notes that “some States may have policies that further clarify how LEAs within that State must pay for transportation for homeless students with disabilities whose IEPs include transportation as a related service or require attendance at a particular school. These State policies must be consistent with all Federal laws and regulations. Therefore, such State policies may apply only to situations in which a homeless student moves from one LEA to another within that particular State and not when a student moves from an LEA in one State to an LEA in another State.”
So for inter-district issues within a state, you would look at how your state regulations allocate financial responsibility and follow those.