(Indianapolis, Ind.) - School districts would violate Indiana’s constitution if they were to require students to pay to ride the school bus says the state attorney general.
Attorney General Greg Zoeller issued the nine-page advisory opinion Monday following a request by the Indiana State Board of Accounts.
A handful of districts around the state are pondering whether to have students pay to ride to and from class in order to raise revenue. Those districts asserted that the Indiana School Corporation Home Rule Act allowed the collection of a riding fee.
Zoeller’s opinion states that the bus ride to and from school is part of a public education guaranteed by the state constitution.
“The legislature has identified transportation of school children as a part of what would constitute a uniform system of public education in Indiana. The governing body of a school corporation is required to provide transportation under some circumstances and authorized to provide transportation for its students otherwise. The legislature has not provided the governing body of a school corporation with the specific authority to assess, charge, or collect a school bus rider fee from the students of the school corporation,” Zoeller summarized.
Zoeller's opinion does not carry the weight of law, although the opinion could be used by plaintiffs in any potential lawsuits over the issue.