Racine Unified is under threat of a lawsuit from the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) because of a fee the district charges private school student families if student names are not on the busing list by July 1.
Unified requires area choice schools that rely on busing services to submit a list by July 1 for the coming school year of students who need transportation. If a student’s name is added after that date, the family is charged $300.
WILL has given the district until Nov. 13 to change the policy or it will file suit, a story in The Journal Times reads.
CJ Szafir, education policy director of WILL said the fee violates state law and the U.S. Constitution.
“Of course, if a child chose to attend Racine Unified Public Schools, then they can expect free transportation regardless of when they enroll,” he is quoted as writing in an email to the newspaper. “Racine Unified’s decision to deny only those children who attend private school equal access to transportation is a violation of the equal protection clause of the United States Constitution and state law.”
But, Racine Unified spokesperson Stacy Tapp said the district is already at work on the issue so she was surprised to hear about the threatened lawsuit, the story continues.
“We have been working with the Archdiocese and the private schools to find a resolution that addresses private school transportation concerns while allowing us to control the high costs RUSD absorbs to provide the service,” she told the newspaper. “So, we are surprised to hear of this possible legal action. We don’t want this to hold up our efforts to resolve this situation.”
Three families retained WILL to represent them after they were charged for not having their children’s names on the transportation list by July 1.