Need help with a issue relating to a school closing in North Carolina. That may not have been handled properly. Have a simple document that can be reviewed that I would like a second oppinion on. Need help quick in preparation for a meeting. Here is the relevant portion of the Prodcedure at found in the School Closing Procedure document from the North Carolina State Board of Education, Department of Public Instruction:
115C-72. Consolidation of districts adn discontinuance of schools.
(a) Local boards of education shall have the power...
shall observe and be bound by the following rules:
(1) In any question involving the closing or consolidtion of any public school, the local board of education of the school administrative unit in which such school is located shall cause a thorough study of such school to be made, having in mind primarily the welfare of the students to be affected by a proposed closing or consolidation and including in such study, amounth other factors, geographic conditions, anticpated increase or decrease in schcool enrollment, the inconvenience or hardship that might result to the pupils to be affectted by such closing or consolidation, the cost of providing addtional school facilities in the event of such closing or consolidation, and other factors as the board shall consider germane. ...
The question is, if no formal study was undertaken and on record, could it be argued that the school board did not follow, at least Rule (1) as outlined above.
NOTE: A formal report was never generated, nor an informal report that covered each of the areas, at a minimum, that are listed above.
Of course, it comes down to a judges interpretation, or that of a governing legal body or authority, but just curious to get someone else's perspective on this. Thanks. Call if you can.(NNN) NNN-NNNN/p>
Thanks so much for choosing this forum to pose your important legal question. I will do my best to give you some honest and accurate guidance as I answer your question.
"The question is, if no formal study was undertaken and on record, could it be argued that the school board did not follow, at least Rule (1) as outlined above." Yes, that is absolutely a valid point, and you have quite astutely narrowed in on a highly salient and relevant issue. School closures are often hotly contested issues and require strict adherence to the procedural requirements set forth by the law. Specifically, note the mandatory ("shall") language as opposed to discretionary ("may") language concerning the duty of the school board to conduct such a study. In other words, this is not optional on the part of the local board of education. Rather, it is an integral component of the school closure process and neglecting this step calls into serious question the entirety of what has taken place thus far. Beyond the plain language of the rule you have cited, I would also point you toward (for statutory authority to support your position and bolster your argument) the provisions of North Carolina General Statutes §115C-72. This is all the more pertinent as the document you mentioned clearly recognizes the obligation of local educational authorities to defer to state statutes as controlling.
I hope that makes sense, but please do not hesitate to write back if needed. I shall be signing off soon to attend to some other professional obligations. Please rest assured, however, that I will be sure to check for any updated posts from you when I return to this online forum. I hope all works out.
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