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COA: Schools required to transport students for free

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The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that Indiana students cannot be charged to ride the bus to and from school. The judges found an arrangement between a school corporation and a private company that required parents to pay for their children to ride the bus violated the state constitution.

After the property tax caps went into effect in 2010, schools across the state had to find ways to cut costs. Franklin Township Community School Corporation voted to eliminate student transportation for the 2011-2012 school year, and it later contracted with Central Indiana Educational Service Center to provide transportation services to and from school for a fee. The township decided to continue with the pay-to-ride plan even after Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller issued two official opinions on the matter. Zoeller found, based on Nagy v. Evansville-Vanderburgh School Corp., 844 N.E.2d 481 (Ind. 2006), the plan violated Article 8, Section 1 of the Indiana Constitution.

Two parents filed a class-action lawsuit, after which the school board voted to resume busing its students to and from school at no charge. The trial court granted summary judgment for Franklin Township, holding that the Indiana Tort Claims Act barred the plaintiff parents’ claims, that the plaintiffs weren’t entitled to monetary damages and the school corporation did not violate the state constitution by ending busing to and from school.

“Applying Nagy to the facts of this case, we conclude that Franklin Township acted unconstitutionally. Our legislature has determined that school corporations ‘may’ transport their students to and from school. Thus, pursuant to Nagy, the legislature has determined that transportation to and from school qualifies as a part of a uniform system of public education,” Chief Judge Nancy Vaidik wrote in Lora Hoagland v. Franklin Township Community School Corporation, 49A02-1301-PL-44.

The judges determined Hoagland is entitled to declaratory judgment to that effect and remanded with instructions. The judges also concluded that the ITCA does not apply to Lora Hoagland’s state constitutional claim – an issue of first impression in state courts. “Hoagland’s claim sounds in Indiana’s Education Clause, not tort law,” they held.

The Court of Appeals affirmed that Hoagland may not seek monetary damages as there is no express or implied right to do so under the Indiana Constitution.
 

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  1. On a related note, I offered the ICLU my cases against the BLE repeatedly, and sought their amici aid repeatedly as well. Crickets. Usually not even a response. I am guessing they do not do allegations of anti-Christian bias? No matter how glaring? I have posted on other links the amicus brief that did get filed (search this ezine, e.g., Kansas attorney), read the Thomas More Society brief to note what the ACLU ran from like vampires from garlic. An Examiner pledged to advance diversity and inclusion came right out on the record and demanded that I choose Man's law or God's law. I wonder, had I been asked to swear off Allah ... what result then, ICLU? Had I been found of bad character and fitness for advocating sexual deviance, what result then ICLU? Had I been lifetime banned for posting left of center statements denigrating the US Constitution, what result ICLU? Hey, we all know don't we? Rather Biased.

  2. It was mentioned in the article that there have been numerous CLE events to train attorneys on e-filing. I would like someone to provide a list of those events, because I have not seen any such events in east central Indiana, and since Hamilton County is one of the counties where e-filing is mandatory, one would expect some instruction in this area. Come on, people, give some instruction, not just applause!

  3. This law is troubling in two respects: First, why wasn't the law reviewed "with the intention of getting all the facts surrounding the legislation and its actual impact on the marketplace" BEFORE it was passed and signed? Seems a bit backwards to me (even acknowledging that this is the Indiana state legislature we're talking about. Second, what is it with the laws in this state that seem to create artificial monopolies in various industries? Besides this one, the other law that comes to mind is the legislation that governed the granting of licenses to firms that wanted to set up craft distilleries. The licensing was limited to only those entities that were already in the craft beer brewing business. Republicans in this state talk a big game when it comes to being "business friendly". They're friendly alright . . . to certain businesses.

  4. Gretchen, Asia, Roberto, Tonia, Shannon, Cheri, Nicholas, Sondra, Carey, Laura ... my heart breaks for you, reaching out in a forum in which you are ignored by a professional suffering through both compassion fatigue and the love of filthy lucre. Most if not all of you seek a warm blooded Hoosier attorney unafraid to take on the government and plead that government officials have acted unconstitutionally to try to save a family and/or rescue children in need and/or press individual rights against the Leviathan state. I know an attorney from Kansas who has taken such cases across the country, arguing before half of the federal courts of appeal and presenting cases to the US S.Ct. numerous times seeking cert. Unfortunately, due to his zeal for the constitutional rights of peasants and willingness to confront powerful government bureaucrats seemingly violating the same ... he was denied character and fitness certification to join the Indiana bar, even after he was cleared to sit for, and passed, both the bar exam and ethics exam. And was even admitted to the Indiana federal bar! NOW KNOW THIS .... you will face headwinds and difficulties in locating a zealously motivated Hoosier attorney to face off against powerful government agents who violate the constitution, for those who do so tend to end up as marginalized as Paul Odgen, who was driven from the profession. So beware, many are mere expensive lapdogs, the kind of breed who will gladly take a large retainer, but then fail to press against the status quo and powers that be when told to heel to. It is a common belief among some in Indiana that those attorneys who truly fight the power and rigorously confront corruption often end up, actually or metaphorically, in real life or at least as to their careers, as dead as the late, great Gary Welch. All of that said, I wish you the very best in finding a Hoosier attorney with a fighting spirit to press your rights as far as you can, for you do have rights against government actors, no matter what said actors may tell you otherwise. Attorneys outside the elitist camp are often better fighters that those owing the powers that be for their salaries, corner offices and end of year bonuses. So do not be afraid to retain a green horn or unconnected lawyer, many of them are fine men and woman who are yet untainted by the "unique" Hoosier system.

  5. I am not the John below. He is a journalist and talk show host who knows me through my years working in Kansas government. I did no ask John to post the note below ...

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