Franklin Township to charge for school bus service

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FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP - Getting students to school in one local district just got a lot more expensive. Franklin Township says it will charge parents $55 a month to put students on a school bus.

"It's a shame that they even had to do it," said parent Tim Young.

This week, the school board voted to contract with the non-profit Central Indiana Educational Service Center to bus students to and from school for a fee.

For those with more than one child like Christy Morgan, "No, won't pay $55 or $110 a month. I won't do that."

But the Franklin Township School District says they had no choice after property tax caps led to fewer dollars coming in and voters rejected a referendum to increase taxes. Something had to go and the district decided it was busing.

"If other schools can figure out how to work around their budgets, then this one needs to learn to work around their budget as well," said parent Christine Cole.

"I think they kinda got us behind the 8 ball," Young said.

State law says districts are not required to provide busing to students, except for those with special needs.

"If we're not going to provide even just the basics to try to get them to school then you know, where are we as a society?" wondered parent Dana Musaputika.

To get around the costs, some parents are even talking about organizing neighborhood car pools.

"Some people can take them Monday, Tuesday and Thursdays and other people can do Monday, Wednesday, Friday," said Musaputika.

The attorney general came out with an opinion last July, which said it was unconstitutional for districts to charge school bus fees. The State Board of Accounts says it will look at Franklin Township's decision to decide if it's unconstitutional.

"It's gonna be tough and it's gonna be rough for a lot of people," said Morgan.

These parents say they're not waiting for that, they'll find another way.

Details of the new busing plan beyond the cost have not been worked out yet. The new busing provider says it will hold informational meetings next month for parents.

School district officials were unavailable for comment.

CIESC will hold informational meetings next month for interested Franklin Township parents. Informational brochures and enrollment information will be available to families the week of July 11.