Bradford Johnson, '84, on Special Ed Transportation in DC
Friday, January 14, 2011
The Washington Post
All Opinions Are Local
On student transportation, D.C. misses the bus
By Steven Ney and Bradford P. Johnson, Washington
In the Jan. 7 editorial cautioning the District against changing leadership in the D.C. Public Schools, The Post commented that "progress" is being made regarding special education transportation services for public schoolchildren. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case. It is true that until June 2010, the District was on the road to improving transportation services and exiting court supervision. But over the past six months, the school system's ability to get children to school on time has fallen to unacceptable levels, and a successful transition is in serious jeopardy.
In monitoring Petties v. District of Columbia, a class-action lawsuit filed in 1995, the court-appointed transportation administrator reported to the court last month that there have been "substantial performance problems" in transportation. Because of inadequately maintained buses and routing problems, children with disabilities are not getting to school on time and are missing valuable and legally required educational programs. Making matters worse, the District recently cut the transportation budget by $4 million, making it more difficult to resume on-time service.
The writers are part of the legal team representing the claimants in Petties v. District of Columbia.