Agreement ensures equal treatment of children in choice program
November 9, 2015 – Milwaukee, WI – The Racine Unified School District has agreed to resolve a busing dispute with the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) that threatened to leave students who attend private schools through Wisconsin’s voucher program without safe transportation to and from school.
WILL had been retained by parents of children who attend a private school in the Racine Parental Choice Program – Shanna Fredericks, Alexandra Fliess, and Kedzie Blanton – in their dispute with Racine Unified. These parents, like many others with children in the Racine Parental Choice Program, were not receiving free busing from Racine Unified School District, as required under state law. WILL notified Superintendent Lolli Haws and the School Board of Racine that they had until November 13, 2015 to amend their transportation policies, lest the matter be resolved in court which would have cost taxpayers thousands of dollars.
Nearly a week after WILL threatened legal action, the Racine Unified School District agreed to change their position and will provide free transportation to children who attend private schools.
WILL Associate Counsel and Director of Education Policy CJ Szafir said of the change of position by RUSD, “I’m pleased that RUSD has agreed to resolve this impasse promptly and equitably. Whether a student enrolls at a public school or a private school, the State Legislature has always seen it appropriate as a matter of safety and fairness that children can get to and from their school.”
State law requires school districts to provide transportation options to children who attend private schools and further provides resources for the explicit purpose of providing busing to voucher students.
The agreement between Racine Unified and the families will also reimburse the families for any fees that had been charged to the families for transportation costs.