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Manassas School Board Passes Resolution Supporting Lawsuit Against State

Contributed by Manassas City Public Schools

Board agrees Governor’s bill violates Virginia Constitution

Manassas, VA…The School Board of the City of Manassas unanimously passed a resolution in support of the Virginia School Boards Association (VSBA) and Norfolk City Public Schools lawsuit against the Opportunity Educational Institution (OEI) Act at its September 24th meeting. Manassas City Public Schools joins over fifty school divisions across the Commonwealth in adopting such a resolution.

VSBA and the Norfolk school division filed the lawsuit in response to legislation passed by the 2013 General Assembly, which forms a new state school division, or OEI, to take control of failing public schools throughout the Commonwealth. If the OEI Board takes over a school, the school board of the local school division in which the school is located must transfer to the OEI Board all per pupil federal, state and local funding that goes to that school. In addition, the OEI Board is given the right to take possession and control of any facilities used by a school that is taken over, although the locality is still required to pay for any capital improvements to the facilities. Further, the school board and locality are prohibited from selling affected school facilities without permission of the OEI Board.

The resolution for the School Board of the City of Manassas reads:

WHEREAS, in its 2013 session, the General Assembly enacted legislation, which was subsequently approved by the Governor, creating the Opportunity Educational Institution (OEI) and the Opportunity Educational Institution Board; and

WHEREAS, the legislation mandates that the OEI Board take over the supervision and operation of any local public schools that have been denied accreditation and authorizes the OEI Board to take over any local public school that has been accredited with warning for three consecutive years; and

WHEREAS, it is the firm conviction of the School Board that this legislation violates the Constitution of Virginia in that it usurps the role of local school boards in supervising and managing the public schools of the Commonwealth; now therefore;

BE IT RESOLVED, the School Board of the City of Manassas hereby supports the lawsuit brought forth by the Virginia School Boards Association and Norfolk City School Board to declare the OEI legislation unconstitutional and to enjoin the OEI Board from taking any action to implement the legislation.

The resolution, which has been signed by all members of the Board, will be filed with VSBA.  Details of the lawsuit can be found athttp://www.vaschoolboards.org/images/uploads/conferences/OEILawsuit.pdf .

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