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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. Indiana's seatbelt law is not punishable as a crime. It is an infraction. Apparently some of our Circuit judges have deemed settled law inapplicable if it fails to fit their litmus test of political correctness. Extrapolating to redefine terms of behavior in a violation of immigration law to the entire body of criminal law leaves a smorgasbord of opportunity for judicial mischief.

  2. I wonder if $10 diversions for failure to wear seat belts are considered moral turpitude in federal immigration law like they are under Indiana law? Anyone know?

  3. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  4. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  5. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

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