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July 27, 2010  |   Comments (0)   |   Post a comment

Indiana districts drop bus rider fees


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INDIANAPOLIS — Franklin Township Community School Corp.’s board voted 4-to-1 on Monday night to rescind plans to charge a $75 per student fee to ride the district’s school buses.

The school board’s decision comes after Indiana Attorney General Gregory Zoeller issued a legal opinion on districts statewide charging bus rider fees. In the piece, Zoeller ultimately concluded that the fees are unconstitutional, as SBF reported about two weeks ago.

6News reports that the Franklin Township school board disagreed with Zoeller’s opinion, but said that if the district was sued over the fee, it could be costly.

Charging the bus rider fee would have helped make up for an approximately $10-million revenue loss due to property tax caps. The district has enough revenue to get through the upcoming school year and is hoping for a successful referendum in May, but even if it passes, the funds would not be available until 2012.

"We'll have to do everything we can to be as economic and efficient as we possibly can this school year and hope we can make [it] through next fall," Superintendent Walter Bourke told 6News.

In related news, last week, board members for Lake Central School Corp. in St. John, Ind., voted to drop the district’s bus rider fee following the release of Zoeller’s legal opinion.

The $10 per student fee had been in place for the past two school years, the Post-Tribune reports.

"In the spring of 2008, fuel prices were rising rapidly, and it was near $4 per gallon for diesel," Superintendent Larry Veracco told the newspaper. "In respect for the recent opinion, we decided [to] not continue with it this school year."

The district will continue to charge transportation fees for extracurricular trips.


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