Controversy over busing in Franklin Township could soon turn into a class-action lawsuit.
Both sides of the pay to ride issue met in court Wednesday to discuss a timetable for the situation to be resolved.
Franklin Township instituted the policy after a referendum to raise property taxes failed last year. The school system said property taxes fell steadily from 4 percent in 2006 to 1 percent, forcing them to change their transportation policy.
After the referendum failed, the district sold their buses to nonprofit Central Indiana Educational Service Center. Parents must pay $475 for their first child and $405 for each additional child to continue using the bus service.
Parents who did not want to pay the fee have had to drive their children to school each day.
"I have to go to two different schools in the morning and two different schools in the afternoon. I'm disabled and it's very hard for me to sit in a car four or five hours a day.
"Both of my children have medical conditions and it's very difficult for them to sit in the car and wait and wait and wait," said Lora Hoagland, plaintiff.
Hoagland is one of two parents suing the school district over the policy.
With more parents talking about suing the district, a Marion County judge is considering allowing the current lawsuit to become a class action lawsuit.
"One of the reasons that you ask for class status is so that you can economize and have fewer lawsuits.
"One of the things that we're trying to do is see if we can reach an agreement with the defendants so that we can just make this easier on both us and them," said Ron Frazier, plaintiff attorney.
Franklin Township has stood by their policy, despite even Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller's opinion that the policy is unconstitutional.
The district said they didn’t want to dip into their rainy day fund because it would have forced them to cut programs or teachers.
They hired a firm to help improve traffic patterns during the first few weeks of school but Hoagland said the problem of large backups remain.
"I've paid my taxes. I paid for those buses and the children should have those buses," said Hoagland.
Franklin Township has said they will change the policy if the court orders them to do so. As for Hoagland and her attorney, they feel confident they will win if the lawsuit receives class status.
"There's power in numbers," said Frazier.
The next hearing is set for Feb. 13. The judge could reach a decision about the lawsuit as soon as this summer.