The Indiana Supreme Court has ruled that public school districts in the state are not required to provide students with transportation to and from school.
The decision affirms a lower court ruling that said that under Indiana law, providing transportation for students is optional for school systems. The case stems from the decision of the Franklin Township Community School Corporation to discontinue bus service in 2011-12 for most of its students because of a budget shortfall.
Parents of students in the district contended in the lawsuit that the school system had a duty under the state constitution to provide transportation, but the Supreme Court upheld the previous rulings.
"[W]e find no constitutional requirement for school corporations to provide transportation to and from school," the high court wrote.
While the case was working its way through the courts, the Franklin Township district restored student transportation services in 2012-13. Officials said after the most recent ruling that they plan to keep providing bus service.
Franklin Township "has no plans in the immediate future to eliminate transportation," Superintendent Flora Reichanadter said in a post on the district's Facebook page. School corporations who wish to eliminate transportation can do so with three years notice to the community. [The district] has not given that notice, and there is no discussion at this time of such notice."
The Supreme Court decision states that the education clause of the state constitution requires only that there be “general and uniform system of Common Schools, wherein tuition shall be without charge, and equally open to all.”
"We cannot read into that provision," the high court concluded, "an intention that school corporations are required to transport all students to and from school."