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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. A traditional parade of attorneys? Really Evansville? Y'all need to get out more. When is the traditional parade of notaries? Nurses? Sanitation workers? Pole dancers? I gotta wonder, do throngs of admiring citizens gather to laud these marching servants of the constitution? "Show us your billing records!!!" Hoping some video gets posted. Ours is not a narcissistic profession by any chance, is it? Nah .....

  2. My previous comment not an aside at court. I agree with smith. Good call. Just thought posting here a bit on the if it bleeds it leads side. Most attorneys need to think of last lines of story above.

  3. Hello everyone I'm Gina and I'm here for the exact same thing you are. I have the wonderful joy of waking up every morning to my heart being pulled out and sheer terror of what DCS is going to Throw at me and my family today.Let me start from the !bebeginning.My daughter lost all rights to her 3beautiful children due to Severe mental issues she no longer lives in our state and has cut all ties.DCS led her to belive that once she done signed over her right the babies would be with their family. We have faught screamed begged and anything else we could possibly due I hired a lawyer five grand down the drain.You know all I want is my babies home.I've done everything they have even asked me to do.Now their saying I can't see my grandchildren cause I'M on a prescription for paipain.I have a very rare blood disease it causes cellulitis a form of blood poisoning to stay dormant in my tissues and nervous system it also causes a ,blood clotting disorder.even with the two blood thinners I'm on I still Continue to develop them them also.DCS knows about my illness and still they refuse to let me see my grandchildren. I Love and miss them so much Please can anyone help Us my grandchildren and I they should be worrying about what toy there going to play with but instead there worrying about if there ever coming home again.THANK YOU DCS FOR ALL YOU'VE DONE. ( And if anyone at all has any ideals or knows who can help. Please contact (765)960~5096.only serious callers

  4. He must be a Rethuglican, for if from the other side of the aisle such acts would be merely personal and thus not something that attaches to his professional life. AND ... gotta love this ... oh, and on top of talking dirty on the phone, he also, as an aside, guess we should mention, might be important, not sure, but .... "In addition to these allegations, Keaton was accused of failing to file an appeal after he collected advance payment from a client seeking to challenge a ruling that the client repay benefits because of unreported income." rimshot

  5. I am not a fan of some of the 8.4 discipline we have seen for private conduct-- but this was so egregious and abusive and had so many points of bad conduct relates to the law and the lawyer's status as a lawyer that it is clearly a proper and just disbarment. A truly despicable account of bad acts showing unfit character to practice law. I applaud the outcome.

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