INDIANAPOLIS — Students and parents could not be charged a fee for transportation to and from school, under a bill making progress in the state General Assembly.
HB 1134, authored by Rep. Mike Speedy, passed out of the House on Monday with a 92-2 vote.
The issue of school bus fees has been a source of contention in Indiana in recent years.
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 said that many of his constituents contacted him when school bus fees were implemented.
“The gist of this bill addresses the financial need of people not only in my district, but people across Indiana," he said. "But at the heart of this bill lays a concern for public safety and most importantly the protection of Hoosier family budgets.”
Speedy said that an increase in parents driving in and out of school parking lots to drop off their kids, combined with an increase in students walking to school through the parking lots, has created a safety hazard for students.
HB 1134 would also establish a "drive train and lubricant maintenance school bus life extension program." School corporations could participate in the program by submitting an application to the Department of Local Government Finance.
The bill will now be heard in the Senate.