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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. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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