Va. Judge Overturns School Takeover Law


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NORFOLK, Va. (WHSV) -- A Norfolk Circuit Court judge has ruled against a law passed during last year's General Assembly which allows the state to take over schools that struggled to meet accreditation standards.

The judge said the law violates the state's constitution because it creates a statewide school division that wouldn't be overseen by a school board. Under the law, the Opportunity Educational Institution Board could take over struggling schools away from the local school boards. The board was created by the General Assembly during former Governor Bob McDonnell's administration.

The City of Norfolk sued the OEI Board after three schools were going to be taken over in just a few weeks because they were struggling to meet those accreditation standards.

Harrisonburg City Schools Superintendent Dr. Scott Kizner said this ruling isn't a surprise, "Accountability has to be at the local level. The notion that there was going to be a politically appointed board of people who don't live in the community to tell a community how to run their school system better made no sense."

No schools in the Valley were in danger of being taken over.

Governor McAuliffe said he is reviewing the ruling and will decide the next steps soon. Some members of the OEI Board have said they would like to see it challenged to the Virginia Supreme Court.


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