APR 26 1993 The Honorable J.

James Exon United States Senate 528 Hart Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510 Dear Senator Exon: This letter is in response to your inquiry on behalf of your constituent, XX concerning the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") that was sent to this office and to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (b)(6) requested information about the ADA and expressed some concerns about the financial impact that the ADA may have on the resources of the Ponca School Board in Ponca, Nebraska. The ADA authorizes this Department to provide technical assistance to individuals and entities that have rights or responsibilities under the ADA. Therefore, this letter provides informal guidance to assist you in responding to XX . However, this technical assistance does not constitute a legal interpretation, and it is not binding on the Department of Justice. Title II of the ADA, which became effective on January 26, 1992, prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability and governs the operations of local and State governments. Accordingly, the Ponca School Board is covered by title II and is required to comply with its provisions. If the Ponca School system receives Federal financial assistance from any Federal agency, then the school system also is subject to section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of handicap in federally assisted programs and activities. cc: Records; Chrono; Wodatch; McDowney; Bowen; Delaney; FOIA. \udd\delaney\congress\exon

01-02008 -2Title II requires that all programs, services, and activities of a public entity be made available without discrimination on the basis of disability. A public entity is not necessarily required to make each of its existing facilities accessible but it must ensure that its services, programs, or activities, when viewed in their entirety, are readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities. See section 35.150(a) of the enclosed title II regulation. Accordingly, it may be possible for the Ponca School Board to comply with this obligation without necessarily making all of its existing buildings physically accessible. Services and programs may be made available in alternate locations, or special arrangements can be made to afford services to persons with disabilities in accessible parts of a building. See also section 35.150(b). The title II regulation requires all public entities, regardless of size, to conduct a self-evaluation or review of its services, policies, and practices by January 26, 1993, to identify inaccessible facilities and to develop solutions to make the programs, services, and activities accessible. See section 35.105. In the event that structural changes to existing facilities are necessary in order to make a program, service, or activity accessible to persons with disabilities, a public entity that employs fifty or more employees must develop a transition plan by July 26, 1992, setting forth the steps necessary to complete those changes. Any structural changes outlined in the transition plan must be completed as expeditiously as possible but no later than January 26, 1995. See section 35.150(d) of the title II regulation. The title II regulation, like the section 504 rule, does not require a public entity to take action that it can demonstrate would result in a fundamental alteration in the nature of its programs or activities or in undue financial and administrative burdens. The decision that compliance would result in such

burdens must be made by the head of a public entity after considering all resources available for use in the funding and operation of the service, program, or activity, and must be documented by a contemporaneous written statement of the reasons for reaching that conclusion. If making a program fully accessible would result in such burdens, a public entity is required to take any other action that would not result in such burdens but would nevertheless ensure that individuals with disabilities receive the benefits or services provided by the public entity. The title II regulation makes it clear that all facilities designed, constructed, or altered by, on behalf of, or for the use of a public entity, must be readily accessible and usable by individuals with disabilities if the construction or alteration began after January 26, 1992. See section 35.151. Section 35.151(c) of the title II rule permits a public entity, when 01-02009 -3altering or constructing a building or facility, to use either the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (UFAS) or the ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG), which are an appendix to the enclosed title III regulation. I hope this information is helpful in responding to your constituent. Sincerely, James P. Turner Acting Assistant Attorney General Civil Rights Division Enclosures (2)