Monday, April 6, 2015

Getting the Kids to School

Whose responsibility is it to get kids to school?  In Franklin Township, IN this question was not resolved until it reached the Indiana Supreme Court.

Franklin Township is located near the southeast corner of metro Indianapolis. 
“The population of the township as of the 2010 census was 54,594 up from 32,080 in 2000.”  The median income is of $70,000 is about 45% higher than that of the state as a whole.

The dispute began a few years ago when the school district felt they were forced to discontinue free bus service during the 2011-12 school year in response to financial pressures.  This situation of schools facing financial difficulties is not uncommon in many states where state-mandated property tax caps limit revenue.  In addition to this a state law requires that any bus service a school system does provide must be free of charge. 

In response to the threat of losing their free bussing, the parents, “upset by the district's action, filed a class-action lawsuit based on the premise that students had a constitutional right to bus service.”  (They were referring to the State Constitution that guarantees a free education to all.)  They lost the case.  The ruling was unanimous that a free education does not include all aspects of the education such as getting the kids to and from the classroom.

This behavior reflects poorly both on parental responsibility and on perspective.  First, the idea of passing off the requirement of getting your kids to school to another party smacks of not owning your problem, an unwillingness to see things through.  (If parents don’t think they even need to make an effort to get kids to school, one wonders how much interest they take in the progress their kids make while they are there.)  Remember, these are parents with above average incomes, not ones who would necessarily suffer financial hardship if required to make other arrangements.

Second is the perspective issue of taking school buses for granted.  It is just assumed that after getting the kids to the corner everything else is automatically taken care of, and that’s the way it has always been.  Children, with the help of parents, never had to find their own way to school.  Children and parents never had to adjust schedules to make sure they got an education.  Of course those assumptions are not true, and once again the behavior shows clearly where the values really are.

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