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The Gary Community School Corporation owes its busing company more than $2 million to keep services running. The company gave the school district until Nov. 10 to provide payment.

The Saga Of Busing Fees

Background

Their finances pinched by a statewide property tax cap before the 2011-12 school year, officials in the Franklin Township Community School Corporation decided to institute a fee for the school busing services they had previously offered at no cost to district families. Frustrated administrators said it was the only course of action available to close a budget gap caused after a statewide property tax cap barred the district from receiving $16 million in revenues.

Families could either pay a fee of $40 to $50 per student each month to ride buses or provide their own transportation to school. On the first day, hundreds of cars spilled out of parking lots at district schools waiting to pick up students. The fees spurred a lawsuit from a Franklin Township parent.

For roughly seven months of the 2011-12 school year, Franklin Township parents either drove their children to school (on the rural township roads, few students were able to walk) or paid the fees. But after the Indiana General Assembly passed a law allowing the district to restructure its debt, the Franklin Township school board voted in March to end the busing fees.

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