DEC 14 1993

Zita Denkinger 565 N.W. Holly Street Box 7003 Issaquah School District Issaquah, WA 98027 Dear Ms. Denkinger: This letter is response to your letter requesting information regarding the kinds of requirements being made of privately owned museums, parks, and recreational facilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 ("ADA"). You also asked whether it is permissible under the ADA for a public school to pay for the use of a private facility that is not accessible to people with disabilities. We apologize for the delay in responding. The ADA authorizes the Department of Justice to provide technical assistance to individuals and entities having rights or obligations under the Act. This letter provides informal' guidance to assist you in understanding the ADA's requirements. However, it does not constitute a legal interpretation or legal advice and it is not binding on the Department of Justice. Generally, title III of the ADA prohibits the owners and operators of places of public accommodation from discriminating against people on the basis of their disabilities. Privately owned museums, parks, and recreational facilities are places of public accommodation. Please see the enclosed title III regulation at section 36.104 (pages 35,594 and 35,551-52) for further discussion. Public accommodations have many obligations under the ADA. Four of these obligations may be of special concern to you. First, public accommodation must make reasonable modifications cc: Records, Chrono, Wodatch, Magagna, Mobley udd\mobley\pletters\denkinge

01-02817 -2to their policies, practices, and procedures to accommodate persons with disabilities. Second, they must provide appropriate auxiliary aids and services except under certain circumstances. Third, they must remove architectural barriers to access where such removal is readily achievable. Fourth, when it is not readily achievable to engage in barrier removal, they must apply readily achievable alternatives to provide access. Each of these obligations is discussed in the enclosed Technical Assistance Manual. You also asked whether it is permissible for public schools to pay for the use of private facilities that are not accessible to individuals with disabilities. Title II prohibits public entities from discriminating against individuals with disabilities or from excluding them from participation in or denying them the benefits of governmental services, programs, or activities. Please refer to the discussion in the enclosed title II regulation (pages 35,718-19 and 35,702-06). Sections 35.149 and 35.150 of title II require government institutions like public schools to operate their programs so that when the program is viewed as a whole it is readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities. Program access must be achieved unless doing so would result in an undue burden. Please see the enclosed title II regulation for a discussion of program access (pages 35,719-20 and 35,708-09). If a school arranges a field trip to a local museum, for example, the concept of program access requires the field trip to be made accessible to students with disabilities. To satisfy this requirement, the school may, for example, arrange with the museum to provide an audio tape or slide show description of inaccessible areas of a museum. I have enclosed this Department's Title II and III Technical Assistance Manuals that were written to guide individuals and entities having rights and obligations under the Act toward a fuller understanding of the law. Pertinent discussion is found in the Title III Technical Assistance Manual at pages 1-2 (definition of place of public accommodation), 22-25 (reasonable modifications of policies), 25-27 (auxiliary aids and services), 28-37 (removal of architectural barriers), and 37-38

(alternatives to barrier removal), and in the Title II Technical Assistance Manual at pages 9-13 (general prohibitions of discrimination), and 19-20 (program access).


-3I hope this information is useful to you in understanding the requirements of the ADA. Sincerely,

Joan A. Magagna Deputy Chief Public Access Section Enclosures (4) Title II Regulation Title II Technical Assistance Manual Title III Regulation Title III Technical Assistance Manual