Thursday, May 21, 2009

11th District Court of Appeals holds that board of education can be compelled to provide transportation for students

The Eleventh District Court of Appeals, in State ex rel. Luchette v. Pasquerilla, found that a court of common pleas may order a school district to provide transportation to a student when the Ohio State Board of Education has found that it is not impractical to do so.

The case involved a mother and her child who live in the Brookfield School District, but the child attends a a nonpublic school. In 2006, the Brookfield School District Board of Education passed a resolution, pursuant to R.C. 3327.02(A) and (B)(1), finding that transportation of the child was impractical. Under R.C. 3327.02(A)(3), the Trumbull County Educational Service Center review the decision and agreed with the school district, permitting the district to offer payment in lieu of transportation. The parents rejected payment and requested mediation by the Ohio Department of Education, as permitted by R.C. 3327.02(E)(1)(a). When mediation did not reach a resolution, a hearing was held, as required by R.C. 3327.02(E)(1)(b).

As a result of the hearing, the hearing officer recommended, and the state board approved, declining confirmation of the school district's impracticality decision. The recommendation found that the district only considered two of the six statutory factors in making its determination, among other findings. No one appealed the decision under R.C. 119.12. Nonetheless, the district refused to provide transportation.

The student sought an order from the Court of Common Pleas compelling the board to provide transportation. The Court of Common Pleas dismissed the case, finding the case improperly brought.

The Court of Appeals, however, ordered the school district to provide transportation and reversed and remanded the trial court's decision.

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