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Central Ohio school district sues over busing

Jo Ingles
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The Groveport Madison School District has filed suit in the Franklin County Common Pleas Court against the Ohio Department of Education to prevent it from deducting nearly $700,000 from its transportation funding allotted by the state. The suit contends if that happens, it will have a "disastrous, and irreparable, impact on Groveport Madison’s ability to provide timely, safe, and consistent transportation for its students.

ODE said last year the district was breaking state law by not busing students attending a Columbus charter school, and that it owes the state $689,000. Ohio law changed last June to allow the state's education department to monitor the way school districts provide busing to students and gave the state agency authority to claw back money if it determines a "consistent or prolonged period of non-compliance on the part of a school district to provide transportation."

But the district says it hired a third party to transport students and that bus company "repeatedly failed to provide satisfactory transportation services in accordance with its obligations under the Agreement, the Addendum, and Ohio law." But on December 20, ODE told the district, as a result of the investigation, the money would be deducted from the next scheduled payment of transportation funds on February 4, 2022.

In its suit, Groveport Madison says ODE did not have reliable evidence the law was broken. And it says if the state claws back those dollars, the district will suffer "unusual hardship" and would impair the district's ability to provide transportation for its students. It asks the court to provide immediate injunctive relief.

Copyright 2022 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.