INDIANAPOLIS — Franklin Township Schools Superintendent Flora Reichanadter will question a court of appeals decision that public school buses are a constitutional right, banning fees, in a case the district is taking to the Indiana Supreme Court. She is asking why the state isn’t obligated to fully fund transportation, The Indianapolis Star reports.
The bus fees in question were charged in 2011-12, before Reichanadter was hired, and have been discontinued. As previously reported, the state Court of Appeals ruled earlier this year that Franklin Township Schools’ outsourcing of transportation to a contractor that charged parents was unconstitutional, pointing in part to a state mandate for schools to bus homeless, foster-care, special-needs and some private-school students. Free public school buses were deemed a right under state law.
Reichanadter counters that argument by asking how the bus fees could have been illegal if the state legislature reacted by banning them and outlining formal procedures for school districts to cut transportation, according to The Indianapolis Star. The case will likely come down to what the state constitution means by mandating tuition-free public schools that are open to all, Indiana University McKinney School of Law clinical professor Cynthia Baker told the newspaper.
The state Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments Nov. 24 for Hoagland v. Franklin Township Community School Corp., a class-action lawsuit filed by parents. Reichanadter told The Indianapolis Star that even if her case doesn’t win in court, it could press the legislature to offer relief to school districts strapped by property tax caps.
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