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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. For many years this young man was "family" being my cousin's son. Then he decided to ignore my existence and that of my daughter who was very hurt by his actions after growing up admiring, Jason. Glad he is doing well, as for his opinion, if you care so much you wouldn't ignore the feelings of those who cared so much about you for years, Jason.

  2. Good riddance to this dangerous activist judge

  3. What is the one thing the Hoosier legal status quo hates more than a whistleblower? A lawyer whistleblower taking on the system man to man. That must never be rewarded, must always, always, always be punished, lest the whole rotten tree be felled.

  4. I want to post this to keep this tread alive and hope more of David's former clients might come forward. In my case, this coward of a man represented me from June 2014 for a couple of months before I fired him. I knew something was wrong when he blatantly lied about what he had advised me in my contentious and unfortunate divorce trial. His impact on the proceedings cast a very long shadow and continues to impact me after a lengthy 19 month divorce. I would join a class action suit.

  5. The dispute in LB Indiana regarding lake front property rights is typical of most beach communities along our Great Lakes. Simply put, communication to non owners when visiting the lakefront would be beneficial. The Great Lakes are designated navigational waters (including shorelines). The high-water mark signifies the area one is able to navigate. This means you can walk, run, skip, etc. along the shores. You can't however loiter, camp, sunbath in front of someones property. Informational signs may be helpful to owners and visitors. Our Great Lakes are a treasure that should be enjoyed by all. PS We should all be concerned that the Long Beach, Indiana community is on septic systems.

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