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COA: Township not required to pay for private school shuttle

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A school township in Marion County isn’t legally required to transport nonpublic school students to their private schools, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed.

In Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis, Inc. v. Metro School District of Lawrence Twp., et al., No. 49A02-1004-PL-427, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis and parents of children who attend two Catholic elementary schools in Lawrence Township appealed the denial of their requests for declaratory and injunctive relief after the Metropolitan School District of Lawrence Township voted to end a longstanding practice to use shuttle buses to transport the nonpublic school children from township middle schools to their respective private schools.

Private elementary school students who lived along bus routes in Lawrence Township were allowed to ride the bus that took public school children to one of three public middle schools, from which the private school students would then board a free shuttle bus that would take them to one of the two private schools in the township. Lawrence Township paid for the shuttle but after facing a budget deficit, decided to end paying for the service.

The archdiocese sued and the trial court granted an emergency temporary restraining order, but later denied the archdiocese’s petition for injunctive and declaratory relief. After this ruling, the parents filed a similar suit, in which another trial judge found their suit was barred by res judicata. In both suits, the trial judges cited Indiana Code Section 20-27-11-1, which deals with transporting nonpublic school students and says “The transportation provided under this section must be from the home of the nonpublic school student or from a point on the regular route nearest or most easily accessible to the home of the nonpublic school student to and from the nonpublic school or to and from the point on the regular route that is nearest or most easily accessible to the nonpublic school.”

The issue in the combined appeal isn’t the pick-up of students along the regular route, but the delivery of the students to their schools. The archdiocese and parents argued that the statute requires the nonpublic school students be taken to their schools, but the statute also allows for the school to take the students to a place on the regular route that is closest to or most easily accessible to the private school.

In affirming the lower court, the Court of Appeals cited Frame v. South Bend Community School Corp., 480 N.E.2d 261 (Ind. App. 1985), and two opinions on similar issues from the Indiana Attorney General – one from 1933 and one from 1980.

“The foregoing precedents reflect Indiana’s goals of ensuring public safety and efficient allocation of public funds such that where a school district has already expended transportation resources that can benefit both nonpublic and public school students, nonpublic school students should certainly benefit from the outlay; however, the school district is not required to undertake additional expenses, to revise its existing bus routes, or to otherwise devote its funds such that they accommodate only nonpublic school students in the manner they desire,” wrote Judge Carr Darden.

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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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