INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled on Tuesday that Franklin Township Community School Corp. violated the state constitution when it ended bus service and arranged for an outside company to transport students for a fee, The Indianapolis Star reports.
The court decided that transportation is part of the public education system, pointing in part to a state mandate for schools to bus homeless, foster-care, special-needs and some private-school students.
The Franklin Township Community School Corp. discontinued its bus service in the 2011-12 school year because it was constrained by tax caps and was in millions of dollars of debt. As SBF previously reported, the district outsourced its transportation to the Central Indiana Educational Service Center, a not-for-profit agency. The agency charged parents $475 per year and a $20 non-refundable fee to transport one child, with another $405 for each additional child.
One year after Franklin Township parents first filed a class-action lawsuit in 2011 against the school district, the state legislature banned school corporations from charging transportation fees.
If the new court ruling stands, it would also prevent other school corporations from using the same approach to solve budget problems. The school district did not say whether it would appeal the ruling, according to the newspaper.
To read the full story, click here.