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Schools Required to Bus Children to Both Divorced Parents’ Houses

Another follow-up to two of our recent blogs (“Another One Rides the Bus with apologies to the Queen” and “Update to Another One Rides the Bus”) regarding bus transportation for children of divorced parents who equally share custody and reside within the same school district.  Mr. Reese of our office represented the father, Mr. Watts.  Here one can read an article regarding the case which was published in “The Legal Intelligencer”, Pennsylvania Law Weekly edition.  Listed below, are excerpts from the article:

“Imagine that you and your ex equally share custody of your child, but the school district you both live in will only bus your child to you ex’s house, two miles away.  In fact, just in order to make it to your job every day, you have to hire a driver to make sure your child gets to and from school”.

“Now thanks to the recent Commonwealth Court case of Watts v. Manheim Township School District, —A.3d—(Pa. Cmwlth. 2014), published January 7, Pennsylvania public schools are required to provide transportation services to and from two different residences within the same school district.  The impact on separated and divorced parents could be huge”.

“This case is not just significant for attorneys who practice education law, but for family law attorneys as well.  In a time where school districts are forced to stretch tax dollars as far as possible, it is all too common that districts make the cuts like Manheim Township School District did here.  Family law attorneys must be aware of the Watts decision and the impact it may have in custody cases.  In crafting custody orders, family court judges take into consideration how and if the parents are able to ensure their children can get to school.

“If, before Watts, a school district refused to bus a student to a father’s house, but did bus to a mother’s house, like in Watts, a judge may well have taken this into consideration and relegated the father to having custody every other weekend if the father worked and could not hire a driver to take his children to school.  Now, under Watts, a father would be on equal footing because he would be entitled to bussing services as well.”