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JUDGE RULES IN FAVOR OF SCHOOL CLOSING PLAN


Publication: THE CHARLESTON DAILY MAIL
Published: Monday, August 06, 1990
Page: P1A
Byline: GINGER THOMPSON

A Kanawha Circuit Court judge today ruled in favor of the Kanawha County school board's plan to close South Charleston Junior High School.

In issuing his ruling, Judge Patrick Casey said the state Board of Education lacks the authority to overrule final acts by county school boards.

The judges ruling came in response to suits filed by South Charleston resident Thornton Cooper, an attorney, and the county school board against the state board. Casey consolidated the suits Both suits asked the judge to overrule the state board's position.

The county board this year voted to close South Charleston Junior High. Under its plan, some students would be moved to Spring Hill Junior High and the rest would be consolidated with students from Dunbar Junior High in the old Dunbar High School building.

But the state board in May overruled the plan, at least in part because some board members said studies showed the South Charleston Junior High building was underutilized.

Cooper and the county board subsequently filed separate suits contesting the ruling.

Cooper's suit additionally asked that the county board be forced to post all positions available at the consolidated Dunbar Junior.

High and the relocated Nitro High schools. But Casey determined that the Dunbar positions had been adequately posted and that no action r has been taken regarding Nitro High.

After Casey's ruling, the state school board and South Charleston resident Douglas Skaff, the leader of a parent group, applied that Casey not put his order into effect.

They asked the judge not to enforce the order unless the state.

Supreme Court rejects an appeal, which they said they planned to file The state board and Skaff said Casey's decision "is one of great significance regarding the Constitutional and statutory authority of the West Virginia Board of Education." They called his decision an "error," saying the state board should have the authority to supercede decisions by county school boards.

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