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Decision Number
Transportation of Open Enrolled Pupils
Toby Nicholson
Marshalltown Community School District
Full Text

Mr. Nicholson seeks reversal of a decision the local Board of Directors of the Marshalltown District ["Marshalltown Board"] made on September 13, 2010, rejecting his request that the Marshalltown Board allow a school bus owned and operated by the East Marshall Community School District ["East Marshall"] to enter the town of Haverhill, located within the Marshalltown District, to pick up his children and transport them to East Marshall. On November 22 2010, the Board of Directors of Area Education Agency 267 upheld the decision of the Marshalltown Board.

Toby Nicholson is the parent of two children who reside in the Marshalltown District, but are open enrolled by Mr. Nicholson to East Marshall. His children do not live within walking distance of their East Marshall attendance centers.

Claiming that the stop is unsafe for the students, Mr. Nicholson asked that the location of the bus stop be relocated to Haverhill, roughly two miles further into the interior of the Marshalltown District. Mr. Nicholson argues that open enrolled students must be provided with transportation on the same basis that school transportation is provided to students under section 285.1.

The transportation of students who are open enrolled is the responsibility of the students' parents or guardians. Only if a receiving school district (the district to which students are open enrolled) has express permission from the board of the resident school district may the former send a school bus into the latter to pick up and drop off open enrolled students. Nothing in our law compels a school district of a resident school district to give such permission.

Under the "abuse of discretion" standard that we must use, we conclude that a reasonable person could have found sufficient evidence to determine that the Marshalltown Board's refusal of Mr. Nicholson's request was a rational decision. The local Board took no action that it was prohibited from taking under section 282.18(10). There are no grounds by which this agency can reverse the underlying decision.