It had already been made illegal by the legislature, but the state‘s Court Of Appeals says charging parents for busing their students to public schools violates the Indiana Constitution.
The appeals court overturned a lower court ruling when it found Indianapolis’ Franklin Township Schools violated the Constitution when it contracted a private company for bus service during the 2011-2012 school year.
The company, Central Indiana Educational Service Center, charged parents $475 per year to transport one child to school and $405 for each additional child. The school system said it was forced to make the move due to millions of dollars of debt and an inability to raise revenue due to caps on property taxes.
Franklin Township leaders ended the pay-for-busing program in 2012, in part because new rules from the state allowed them to refinance some of the district‘s debt. But the change came after several parents filed a class-action lawsuit against the school system.
A lower court sided with the school corporation, but the appellate court ruled transportation is part of the state‘s public education system and is therefore protected by the state constitution. The appeals court also ruled that parents who paid for busing that year were not entitled to be reimbursed, a decision that concurs with the lower court.