The DeForest Area School District recently purchased its first wheelchair lift van to transport students with disabilities. Staff attended a training session on May 19 to learn how to operate the vehicle. They will use the van to transport students to community employment and essential skillbuilding locations as a component of the transition preparation activities required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Skillbuilding activities include learning how to access community resources such as stores, restaurants and government services.
In the past, the District leased a non-wheelchair vehicle from Johnson Sales & Service to transport nonambulatory high school students with disabilities. They also rented a wheelchair lift bus from First Student when needed. According to David Perrodin, the school district’s Director of Student Services, “With the growing legal requirements for transitioning students with disabilities, the increased number of students with mobility disabilities needing intensive transition services, and the overall expansion of the community-based educational experiences program at the high school, the District made the move to purchase their own vehicle. Purchasing the van will save the District $6,000 annually in transportation leasing services.”