Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

Superintendent Behind Franklin Township Busing Cuts Is Frustrated Too

Kyle Stokes/StateImpact Indiana

Cars were moving at speeds well below the school zone limit near Franklin Township Middle School East on Wednesday afternoon.

Wednesday was the first day of classes at all Franklin Township schools — and also the first day that a Franklin Township student couldn’t ride district buses without paying a fee of $40 or more after the district made deep cuts to its transportation budget.

The cuts have offered district parents two unenviable options: pay at least $600 per year to bus their kids to school or brave long drop-off and pick-up lines and traffic snarls to drive their kids to school themselves.

But fielding dozens of calls from peeved parents today is just the beginning of Franklin Township superintendent Walter Bourke’s frustration. He’s mad about state policy changes which he says caused the traffic headaches outside schools across the district.

“There’s no way to candy coat it,” Bourke said of the busing fees and traffic tie-ups as he spoke with StateImpact Wednesday afternoon. “I’m not pleased that I’m the CEO of a school corporation that’s in a financial situation where we can’t serve families the way we should.”

Bourke says he’s not sure who deserves blame for revenue losses that led to the cuts to district busing. He expressed particular frustration, however, about property tax caps voters approved last November, which he says have effectively cut off a $16 million revenue stream to the Franklin Township schools.

“Now, families have to pay for the services that were once paid by property owners through property taxes, and you’re going to find that more and more and more in the future of Indiana,” Bourke said.

Bourke says the district was forced into the cuts after voters rejected a district-wide levy in May. He said in public meetings leading up to the vote, he was explicit in saying a failed levy would mean charging parents for busing.

“This is us doing more with less money,” Bourke said.


  • Shelley Frost Koerner

    What is not mentioned by Bourke or Stokes is that Franklin Township Schools has a $11 Million dollar surplus. Why couldn’t this be used to bus the childen since they are required to attend school per state law (not every parent can’t home school). If parents opt to pay for their children to ride the bus are to pay $475 for the first child and $400 for each additional child. Parents and children are waiting in traffic for 2 1/2 hours every morning and then again in the afternoon to pick up their children, a total of 5 hours waiting. The parents that even opt to pay for busing, their children are still showing up to school late because they are stuck in all the traffic. I don’t have any children in school any longer but I am still affected by the traffic. I have to get up hours earlier so that I can make it to work on time at 8:00.

    • Anonymous

      Hi Shelley… Thanks for your comment. We put it to Bourke when we contacted him with follow-up questions for a bigger story we’re working on for this week. We’ll try and explain his answer and how it pertains to your question in the story.

    • Anonymous

      …which will be out Wednesday.

  • upset in FTSD

    Are you kidding me. My son is in the fifth grade. He is at a new school, i have to take him to my sister’s to catch the bus because our road is closed. He is then picked up 1 hour later. school begins at 09:00 am and he has managed to get there by 9:30 am. The real joke is the afternoon. school lets out at 3:50 pm and he has to sit in the cafeteria until the bus gets there 04:30 pm and I again pick him up at my sister’s after work. Last night day 2 he arrived at 06:00 pm. we live 7 minutes from the school. THIS IS NOT WORKING

  • franklin concerns

    Can someone please look into the shady transaction that has taken place between Franklin Township and Central Indiana Education Service Center. The attorney general and IDOE told Franklin and CIESC not to enter into a transportation contract as it is a conflict of interest and is basically going against state law which prohibits a school district from charging certain fees to families. CIESC is a GOVERNMENT agency. They have always received state funding and are audited by state board of accounts. CIESC is very misleading in stating they are a non profit. They are NOT a 5013c. If you google the legislative code (code 20-1-11.3) which is how CIESC was founded; it clearly states they are an extension of a school district. If Franklin couldn’t charge a fee for busing then how can another government agency charge the fee?Franklin also leased or sold their buses, that has never been clear, to CIESC for one dollar! CIESC has also hired all Franklin township transportation employees. However their offices are still at Franklin and not at CIESC. Also Franklin is a member school district of CIESC and Dr. Bourke is on the board of directors.

    Now parents are being forced to pay for busing while CIESC and the district are breaking the law!

  • Guest

    Scott Veerkamp is the President of the Franklin Township School Board. In addition, Scott is a member of the CIESC Advisory Council. Clearly, this is a huge “conflict of interest” for three specific reasons…

    1. CIESC is collecting fees on (school buses) already paid for with Franklin Township tax dollars. In other words, parents are being DOUBLE TAXED for their children’s transportation to school.

    2. As many people know, Scott Veerkamp OWES MONEY in back taxes.

    3. Given this information, why are the residents of Franklin Township being DOUBLE TAXED by a School Board President that refuses to pay his own taxes?

    Important video to review:

    Scott Veerkamp: Unpaid taxes..

    Conflict of interest:

    Sign petition:

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