Nagy ex rel. Nagy v. Evansville-Vanderburgh School Corporation

844 N.E.2d 481 (2006)

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Nagy ex rel. Nagy v. Evansville-Vanderburgh School Corporation

Indiana Supreme Court
844 N.E.2d 481 (2006)

EL

Facts

The Evansville-Vanderburgh School Corporation (the school) (defendant) implemented a $20 student-services fee for each child attending the school. The fee’s proceeds went to the general education fund to help address a budget shortfall and to provide services such as a school nurse, counselors, student services, media specialists, alternative education, and a police-liaison program. These services were available to all students, were already partially publicly funded, and were services the state legislature had deemed part of the state’s public education program. The fee was imposed on all children, including children receiving free or reduced-cost lunches. If parents failed to pay, the school directed an attorney’s office to send the parents a collection letter threatening the pursuit of legal fees for failure to pay the $20 fee. Frank Nagy, Sonja Brackett, and other parents in the school district (the parents) (plaintiffs) filed a class action in Indiana state court, alleging the mandatory student-services fee violated the Indiana constitution’s guarantee of a public education free of tuition and the Fourteenth Amendment’s due-process protections. In the trial court, the school and the parents filed cross-motions for summary judgment. The trial court granted the parents’ motion for summary judgment on their Fourteenth Amendment claims but granted the school’s motion for summary judgment on the parents’ state constitutional claims. The parents and the school appealed to the state appellate court, which reversed in part, finding the fee violated the Indiana constitution’s prohibition against tuition for public education.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Rucker, J.)

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