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Appeals court: Schools can't charge for bus rides

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Court of Appeals said a Marion County school district acted unconstitutionally when it indirectly charged fees for students to ride buses to school.

The court ruled Tuesday that the state constitution and state law prohibit school districts or their contractors from charging a transportation fee for general education, although they can charge for transportation involving extracurricular activities.

After a tax referendum failed, the Franklin Township district tried to reduce its financial losses largely because of property tax caps by eliminating free bus service for the 2011-12 school year.

In 2012, Indiana lawmakers made it illegal for school districts to stop providing bus service, but allowed them to refinance their debt.

An attorney for the southeast-side Indianapolis district said the ruling is being reviewed.

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