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Supreme Court Rules Schools Not Required To Offer Transportation

Kristin Andrus

The Indiana Supreme Court upheld a trial court’s decision that schools are not required by the state constitution to provide transportation for students. 

Indianapolis' Franklin Township Schools stopped providing transportation for a year in 2011 in wake of a $16 million budget shortfall. Instead they hired a private company to bus students to and from school -- for a fee.

Parents filed a class-action lawsuit, in part arguing that the Indiana Constitution prohibits a school corporation from discontinuing busing.  

But in the state Supreme Court unanimously agreed the Indiana constitution does not mandate schools offer transportation.

Franklin Superintendent Flora Reichanadter says the court’s opinion resolves the issue.

“I also think it provides clarity to school districts across the state because there are some districts, like Speedway for example, that have walk zones. It provides definition, if you have students walking to school in way to get there safely -- do you have to provide transportation in a climate where financial resources are limited,” Reichanadter says.

But  Lora Hoagland, the parent  who lead the legal challenge, said she expects to see negative repercussions from the court’s order.

“It opens the doors for schools to be more fiscally irresponsible with their money and now they know where they can’t cut those expenses. Which will hinder some children from getting to school, mainly the less fortunate children,” Hoagland says.

Indiana school districts are required to give three years notice if they could cease transportation. Decatur Township, Westfield Washington and Danville Community have already filed the notices. 

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