An Ohio school district sued the state’s department of education, claiming students will be left out in the cold when the department deducts hundreds of thousands of dollars in transportation funding.
The Groveport Madison School district filed a lawsuit in the Franklin County Common Pleas Court, claiming the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) will deduct nearly $700,000 from its next scheduled payment, on Feb. 4, 2022. The school district said it will suffer from quote “severe and immediate consequences.”
According to the lawsuit, ODE issued a letter to the school district in December stating the district was non-compliant with a state law that requires transportation for eligible students. In its letter, ODE concluded that the school district failed to provide reliable transportation for students at a charter school for nearly two weeks. The law considers that a long period of time. The school district objected to the findings, saying transportation services were provided to those students. The department is deducting the daily totals for those days from the school district’s next transportation payment.
The school district claimed in the lawsuit that its third-party transportation provider, Petermann Bus, has “repeatedly failed to provide satisfactory transportation services” and has reduced and even canceled routes during the 2021-2022 school year. The lawsuit said Petermann Bus attributed this to driver shortages caused by the pandemic, as well as related labor disputes.
The school district estimated a minimum of $689,000 in losses. It said the funding shortfall will exacerbate the transportation crisis the law is designed to prevent.
School Bus Fleet reached out to the school district, but a spokesperson declined comment beyond what is stated in the lawsuit. The magazine also sent an inquiry to Petermann Bus. A spokesperson said he had not seen the lawsuit. ODE hasn’t responded to SBF’s request for a response.