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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. Major social engineering imposed by judicial order well in advance of democratic change, has been the story of the whole post ww2 period. Contraception, desegregation, abortion, gay marriage: all rammed down the throats of Americans who didn't vote to change existing laws on any such thing, by the unelected lifetime tenure Supreme court heirarchs. Maybe people came to accept those things once imposed upon them, but, that's accommodation not acceptance; and surely not democracy. So let's quit lying to the kids telling them this is a democracy. Some sort of oligarchy, but no democracy that's for sure, and it never was. A bourgeois republic from day one.

  2. JD Massur, yes, brings to mind a similar stand at a Texas Mission in 1836. Or Vladivostok in 1918. As you seemingly gloat, to the victors go the spoils ... let the looting begin, right?

  3. I always wondered why high fence deer hunting was frowned upon? I guess you need to keep the population steady. If you don't, no one can enjoy hunting! Thanks for the post! Fence

  4. Whether you support "gay marriage" or not is not the issue. The issue is whether the SCOTUS can extract from an unmentionable somewhere the notion that the Constitution forbids government "interference" in the "right" to marry. Just imagine time-traveling to Philadelphia in 1787. Ask James Madison if the document he and his fellows just wrote allowed him- or forbade government to "interfere" with- his "right" to marry George Washington? He would have immediately- and justly- summoned the Sergeant-at-Arms to throw your sorry self out into the street. Far from being a day of liberation, this is a day of capitulation by the Rule of Law to the Rule of What's Happening Now.

  5. With today's ruling, AG Zoeller's arguments in the cases of Obamacare and Same-sex Marriage can be relegated to the ash heap of history. 0-fer

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