Union Co. Parents Hope Fire Marshal Letter Helps Legal Battle

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by Audrina Bigos
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 MATTHEWS, NC - Parents in Union County hope a letter from the Fire Marshal will help their redistricting battle. The Fire Marshal says none of the district's schools are overcrowded. 

At the center of the redistricting battle in Union County is the question "How does the school system address overcrowding?"'

The school board voted last week deciding that redistricting is the best option, but now, a letter from the fire marshall says not one school is above capacity.
 
The letter comes as the legal fight against the school board begins this week. Attorneys have joined parents and are putting together a lawsuit against the board. 
 
The letter from the fire marshal reads in part "No Union County public school building in our jurisdiction is overcrowded by code definition."
 
"What the fire marshal said is just one of many facts that are lining up, and have lined up against this plan," said Samuel McNeil, a Matthews resident.
 
The redistricting plan will move more than three thousand students to new schools to ease overcrowding and manage what the school system calls "core capacity".
 
But when it comes to safety, the fire marshal says all schools pass code. 
 
His inspections of every school since 2003 take into account "persons sitting and/or standing in locations that may obstruct or impede the use of aisles, passages, corridors, stairways, exits..."
 
"There is not a fire issue, there is not a safety issue with our kids according to the fire marshal, and people trust the fire marshal," said McNeil.
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