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INDUSTRY CONNECTIONS: BRIEFS


WIDESPREAD SCHOOL BUS CUTS AVERTED THANKS TO NEW INDIANA LAW


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ov. Mike Pence signed a bill into law on March 25 that enables dozens of school corporations in Indiana to fund school bus transportation for at least another three years. Labeled the “Tax Cap Fix,” HB 1062 gives school districts more flexibility to


manage their debt and avoid major budget shortfalls. More than 90 districts were planning to curtail or cancel yellow


bus service after 2016 absent any fiscal relief from legislators. Denny Costerison, executive director of the Indiana Association


of School Business Officials, said the organization supports the measure because it provides relief for school systems struggling with the aftermath of the economic recession, statewide proper- ty-tax caps and a new law on school debt repayment. Te bill specifies that a school corporation may adopt a resolution


before Jan. 1, 2019, to use certain debt restructuring statutes if the property-tax circuit breaker credit impact for the school corporation is at least 10 percent of its levies. Tough it was amended to allow the use of school bus ads to generate revenue, House lawmakers struck this language. Costerison told STN the association and its members have


worked hard this past year to raise awareness and garner support for the proposal. “Tis will really assist over 90 school districts in the state that


would have had to alter considerably — and some even eliminate — their transportation systems,” he continued. “Now we have a law that’s going to protect these districts for three years. But, the key here is the law that is harmful is still on the books, so this is basical- ly a three-year exemption of that law.”


Idaho Passes Law to Protect School Bus Drivers, Riders Te current law will be amended so that “a school bus driver shall


be immune from civil or criminal liability for reasonable acts taken in coming to the aid of anyone whom the school bus driver reason- ably believes to be in imminent danger of harm or injury.” Idaho Education Association President Penni Cyr said this leg-


islation was drafted to protect bus drivers from criminal or financial liability if they jump in to help a child who may be in danger. Darrel Christie, assistant manager of Brown Bus Company,


which operates buses for several school districts, said he supports the proposed legislation unequivocally. “Personally, I do feel the drivers should be protected under the law. Tat’s our job, to keep these kids safe,” noted Christie, who was once a bullying victim himself. “We are there to transport them safely, but to watch over them also.” Darrell Rickard, transportation director at Lakeland Joint School


District in Rathdrum, said the new measure would be helpful in clarifying what steps school bus drivers may take to ensure the safety of individual students. Rickard stressed there could be problems proving the school bus


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n March 28, Idaho Gov. Butch Otter signed into law SB 1232, which is designed to protect Idaho school bus drivers from civil or criminal liability if they must intervene to help a child thought to be in imminent danger of harm. Te original intent of the measure, which won unanimous sup-


port in both the House and Senate earlier that month, is to extend the state’s Good Samaritan law to school bus drivers.


32 School Transportation News May 2014


driver acted reasonably without evidence like video footage. He plans to install video camera systems inside every bus in his fleet, and has completed a third of his fleet. “Te cameras have been invaluable. I think it helps some bus behaviors. It certainly protects drivers and children both. With a bill like that, the problem will be that it will have to be proven on tape that the driver didn’t intend to do anything malicious to the student,” he added.


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