[r90] Rep. Speedy: Franklin Township School bus fee unconstitutional (11/10/2011)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Start Date: 11/10/2011
End Date: 11/10/2011

STATEHOUSE— Rep. Mike Speedy (R-Indianapolis) applauds Attorney General Greg Zoeller’s official legal opinion issued today that announced the Franklin Township Community School bus fee is not legal.

It was announced by the Attorney General that under Indiana Constitution it is unconstitutional for a school corporation to charge fees for bus transportation to and from the school, when the provider is not a third party.

“These fees are negatively impacting our school system with close to 600 students leaving the school over the past year, but ultimately the fees are taking a significant financial toll on the families of Franklin Township,” said Rep. Speedy. “I thank the Attorney General for looking into the bus fees and asking the State Board of Accounts to review the transportation arrangements.”

Attorney General Zoeller’s official legal opinion was researched at the request of Rep. Speedy who needed it to prepare legislation for the upcoming session. The Attorney General is also asking the State Board of Accounts to review the transportation arrangement.

Indiana statute does allow parents to independently contract with bus drivers if the school corporation does not provide transportation, but the contract would need a school board’s approval to allow access to school grounds, school schedule, safety requirements, and insurance. In the Franklin Township situation, the school board contracted. With the transportation provider who then imposed the arrangement on parents which is unlawful.

“When it comes to funding, I know schools are looking at some tough decisions but I was extremely concerned about the fees charged by the service center for transportation,” said Rep. Speedy. “Plus, this is a public safety issue given the increased number of students darting between cars at pickup and drop off times.”

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Speedy News Release - Franklin Township Bus Announcement.docx