Transportation Safety Net Funding for HopSkipDrive rides in WA

WA Transportation Safety Net Funding for HopSkipDrive ridesIn Washington State, the Transportation Safety Net program stands as a crucial support system for students facing unique transportation challenges. This program provides an opportunity for districts to receive reimbursement for expenses related to transporting students experiencing homelessness, those in foster care, and children with disabilities. The state recently approved an additional $26 million for this program over the next two fiscal years (2024 and 2025) to help bridge transportation gaps.

In this blog post, we’ll shed some light on this valuable funding opportunity that could be available to districts in Washington State. We’ll also explore how, by booking rides with HopSkipDrive, districts can provide more transportation options for their students now — and apply for reimbursement through this funding program beginning in December.

Understanding Transportation Safety Net Funding

With unexpected student needs and important federal transportation mandates, districts may find themselves needing to arrange transportation for students even when budgets or funding sources have been exhausted. In these situations, the Washington Transportation Safety Net Funding can help reimburse for those additional expenses, filling unforeseen gaps.

The Transportation Safety Net program serves as a lifeline for school districts by supplementing base transportation funding. These additional funds can help schools provide reliable transportation to special student populations, especially those facing substantial obstacles in attending school consistently.

Transportation Safety Net Funding eligibility 

Transportation Safety Net Funding is exclusively channeled through the Washington Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to districts that have a “demonstrated need for additional transportation funding for special passengers.” Special passengers include students with disabilities holding valid IEPs, McKinney-Vento-eligible students, and those in foster care.

Allowable transportation expenses encompass the transport of students to and from school, including between locations within the district, during the school year. This includes utilizing platforms like HopSkipDrive to provide specialized transportation solutions.

Transportation Safety Net Funding application and reimbursement

School districts interested in applying for Transportation Safety Net Funding must follow the application process outlined by OSPI. Detailed information about eligibility, the application process, relevant data districts need to track, and the timing of reimbursements can be found in this Transportation Safety Net Q&A published by OSPI. OSPI has also published a final reporting tool for districts to help determine if they are eligible for Transportation Safety Net Funding.

To maximize the benefits of this funding opportunity, it’s essential to code your expenses correctly. Districts will have to track the number of transported special program students as well as the total cost of transporting special program students separately for each of the three special passenger groups, which must be reported in Program 99 – Student Transportation. With the correct coding, you can ensure that your school district is eligible for the reimbursement it deserves. 

HopSkipDrive makes tracking for different student populations simple for school districts. Each ride can be categorized and a report can be generated so districts know exactly how many funds have been spent for each student population when it comes time to submit the application.

Planning for a brighter transportation future

Planning ahead is key to enhancing transportation services for your students, and HopSkipDrive is ready to help. All Washington school districts should consider how they can provide rides for students who need it in conjunction with preparing for when this funding source is available. Together, we can dismantle transportation barriers, ensuring that every student can flourish in their educational journey.

Interested in learning more about HopSkipDrive’s non-routine student transportation solution?

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