ILNews

Judge rules law doesn’t require schools to bus students

Jennifer Nelson
December 21, 2012
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A Marion County judge ruled in favor of Franklin Township Community School Corp. on a lawsuit filed by parents after the school contracted its bus transportation services to an outside organization that charged students to ride.

Lora Hoagland and Donna Chapman filed the suit last year and the court created two classes: those who paid for services, represented by Chapman, and those who did not pay for their children to ride, but whose children would have if not for the fee. Hoagland represented those plaintiffs.

Franklin Township Community School Corp. voted in 2011 to not provide bus services for the 2011-2012 school year and contracted with Central Indiana Educational Service Center to provide the busing. CIESC charged more than $400 per child for the school year.

Both sides filed for summary judgment, and after hearing arguments on the matter Oct. 26, Marion Superior Judge Theodore Sosin ruled Monday that the discontinuation of bus services did not violate the Indiana Constitution. He also held that I.C. 20-26-1 et seq. and I.C. 20-27-1, et al. permits but does not require schools to bus students.

Sosin found that paying-class plaintiffs received the entire benefit of CIESC’s services and no private cause of action for damages exists under the Education Clause. Franklin Township is also immune from liability under the Indiana Tort Claims Act.

He entered summary judgment in favor of the defendants and denied the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment. Each party is to pay its own costs.

A week after this suit was filed in November 2011, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller issued a legal opinion that the state constitution and statutes dictate that schools cannot charge fees for student to ride a bus to school to receive public education nor can schools charge bus fees directly or indirectly. The legal opinion was released in response to a request by two legislators on whether school systems can outsource bus services to another entity that charges parents.

Zoeller also ruled the same way in a 2010 legal opinion discussing fees imposed to ride the school bus.

 

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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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