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AG says 3rd party school bus fees are unconstitutional

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Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller issued a legal opinion Thursday in response to a request by two Indiana legislators on whether school systems can outsource bus services to another entity that charges parents.

“Under Indiana’s Constitution and statutes, a public school corporation cannot charge fees for students to ride a bus to school to receive the public education to which they are entitled. The school cannot charge bus fees directly, and they cannot charge bus fees indirectly by outsourcing the driving to a third party,” Zoeller said in a statement.

The opinion comes a week after a Marion County mother filed a lawsuit challenging the decision by the Franklin Township Community School Corp. to contract its bus transportation to Central Indiana Educational Service Center for the 2011-2012 school year. CIESC charges more than $400 per student to ride the bus for the school year.

Zoeller said the Office of the Indiana Attorney General doesn’t usually release legal opinions when there is pending litigation, but Rep. Mike Speedy and Sen. Patricia Miller, both Republicans from Indianapolis, had previously requested the opinion for purposes of possible legislation and Zoeller had begun writing the opinion prior to the lawsuit being filed.

The opinion said Indiana statute would allow parents independently to contract jointly with bus drivers to provide transportation if the school corporation does not, but such a contract would then need a school board’s approval to allow access to school grounds, comply with the school schedule and follow safety and insurance requirements. That did not happen in the Franklin Township situation – the school board contracted with CIESC first and then imposed the arrangement on parents, and that is also unlawful, Zoeller wrote.

This is the second legal opinion Zoeller has released discussing fees imposed to ride the school bus. In July 2010, he found that schools directly charging bus fees are unconstitutional.
 

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  • big waste of gas
    Will the American left get consistent and admit that federally mandated school bussing of kids has been the biggest waste of gas in the past thirty years considering what a total failure it has been at improving educational outcomes for minorities. All its accomplished besides destroying the traditional neighborhood school is making money for oil companies and spewing co2 into the atmosphere. Can I get an Amen? Time to pull the plug on bussing altogether.

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  1. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  2. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  3. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

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