Degree Name

Education Specialist (EdS)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Larry Janes


The problem of compliance with state and federal statutes while maintaining a healthy financial picture in a school district has long been a challenge for the educational community. The passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) is an example of legislation which has caused school districts to evaluate their educational program as it relates to accessibility, opportunity and accommodations of people with special needs. Indeed, this statutory compliance also challenges school districts to comply while maintaining a sound financial basis. The constraints of funding has made the ADA an even greater challenge than some statutes.

This study was conducted to investigate the requirements necessary for a school district to legally comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Information gathered from various unit school districts in geographical sections throughout Illinois assisted in achieving this objective. In addition, a review of the available literature and research pertaining to this topic was made in order that legal requirements which exist due to this act were clearly understood and adhered to in the final compliance recommendations made to Iroquois Community School District# 9 in Watseka, Illinois. The ultimate goal was to present a complete plan for compliance with the statutory demands of the ADA in a reasonable and fiscally sound manner.

The researcher surveyed a random sample of unit school districts in Illinois, performed a complete review of the literature related to this topic and attended a two day compliance seminar related to this topic in order to fully investigate the ADA and meet the study goals and objectives. Forty-five surveys were sent to unit school districts in Illinois. Fifteen surveys were sent to each of three geographic areas within the state. Twenty-five surveys were returned which is a 56% response rate. The findings of the study were used to assist in developing an ADA compliance plan for Unit # 9 as well as developing recommendations for Unit # 9 with regards to financing this compliance effort.

The results of this field experience will help to educate and inform school district boards and administrators about the requirements of the ADA. The writer concluded that while the ADA could significantly effect a school district, few districts fully understand the requirements of this legislation. In addition, even fewer school districts have made an effort to comply with the ADA. Actually, only a small percentage of school districts have taken steps to comply.