ILNews

COA: Township not required to pay for private school shuttle

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrint

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.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Indiana State Bar Association

Indianapolis Bar Association

Evansville Bar Association

Allen County Bar Association

Indiana Lawyer on Facebook

facebook
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

ADVERTISEMENT