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To be eligible to receive open enrollment transportation assistance, a student’s total household income must be at or below the amount included in Table 1 of the Open Enrollment Transportation Assistance Guidance for their household size. If the student’s household does not meet this requirement, the parent or guardian of a pupil who has been accepted for open enrollment is responsible for transporting the pupil without reimbursement to and from a point on the receiving district’s regular school bus route (Iowa Administrative Code 281-17.9(1)).
The transportation reimbursement for the 2023-24 school year for qualifying open enrolled families is $669. The 2024-25 amount will be released in January 2025.Back to top
Types of Transportation Assistance
The resident district determines which transportation assistance option will be provided. This is not a parent or guardian choice. Transportation assistance for those who qualify according to income guidelines is available only between contiguous (or bordering) districts and may be deducted from the amount the resident district sends to the receiving district. In case of road construction or road relocation, a receiving district may drive into another district to pick up open enrollment students only if there is road construction or road relocation that makes this necessary.
The resident district may discharge their obligation to provide open enrolled students with transportation to the receiving district in one of three ways. The resident district may:
- Provide transportation for the pupil(s) to a stop on the bus route of the receiving district.
- Allow the receiving district to enter the resident district to pick up the open enrolled pupil(s) only if there is road construction or road relocation that makes this necessary. Failure of the receiving district to decide to do this will not discharge the resident district's obligation for transportation assistance.
- Provide a parent or guardian reimbursement. If this option is selected by the resident district, the amount to be paid to the parent is determined as follows:
- The transportation reimbursement amount shall be the state calculated average as determined in 285.1(3) or the local cost per pupil for the previous year as specified on the resident districts Annual Transportation Report, whichever is lower. The 2022-23 amount will be released in January 2023.
- This amount is limited to reimbursement for three elementary (K-8) students and one secondary (grades 9-12) students in a family.
- The amount of transportation assistance can be prorated according to the date of application submission.
- Transportation assistance costs incurred by the resident district are deducted from the cost per pupil amount required to be sent to the receiving district for an open enrollment regular education pupil. This may be prorated after the start of the year. Transportation assistance costs on students with individualized educational plans (IEPs) cannot be deducted from special education tuition.