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March 27, 2012  |   Comments (1)   |   Post a comment

School bus fees banned in Indiana

By Thomas McMahon


INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana districts can’t charge families for school transportation, under a bill signed into law last week.

The legislation, which goes into effect July 1, specifies that if a school corporation provides transportation or contracts with an educational service center to provide transportation, no fee can be charged to parents or students for transportation to and from school.

“Many constituents contacted me about their concerns with these school bus fees being implemented in Franklin Township,” said Rep. Mike Speedy, author of the bill. “I know in these hard economic times, this had a huge strain on Hoosiers’ wallets. This law further clarifies what the current law states and protects families from transportation fees being instituted in the future.”

Last year, Franklin Township Community School Corp. in Indianapolis outsourced its transportation to a not-for-profit agency, the Central Indiana Educational Service Center. Bus fees of $475 or $405 (for additional riders in a family) per year were put in place.

The move reportedly angered many parents, and state Attorney General Greg Zoeller issued an opinion in which he called the fees "unconstitutional."

Speedy’s House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1134 passed out of the House with a 92-2 vote on Jan. 31. A few weeks later, the bill passed out of the Senate, 48-2. Gov. Mitch Daniels signed it on March 19.

While it bans fees for home-to-school transportation, the new law allows fees to be charged for transportation to and from athletic, social and other school-sponsored functions.

Speedy also co-authored HEA 1192, which was also signed into law recently. It provides up to $5 million in rainy day fund loans to school corporations in financial duress.

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I believe the law allowed school districts to refinance their debt which in turn allowed them to restore transportation in the township? The township is still allowed to charge fees, but must give notice of this event three years in advance.

CB    |    Mar 29, 2012 12:05 PM

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