Union Co. Judge Rejects Temporary Restraining Order to Halt Redistricting

Union Co. Parents say they are not giving up the redistricting fight.

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by Christine Noel

CHARLOTTE, NC-- Parents in Union County say they are not giving up the fight to keep thousands of children from being moved to different schools. Monday, a Union County judge rejected a temporary restraining order that would have halted the controversial redistricting plan approved by the school board last month. The plan requires nearly 3,000 students to change schools to manage overcrowding.

The lawsuit filed by CAPS, or Citizens for Adequate Public Schools, says the plan was approved illegally, and was developed in secret. At the center of the lawsuit: a surprise vote by the school board on March 4 that wasn't scheduled until April. It's a move that CAPS Attorney Joseph Bochocchio says shows a lack of transparency and violates the state's Open Meetings law. "The whole basis of this argument is that these folks won't give us any information," says Bochocchio.

School board Attorney Richard Schwartz says the vote was not made illegally and that the board has been transparent by publishing documents, streaming meetings online, and responding to all information requests made before February 18. "That's as much transparency as you can do without being transparent, like cellophane," says Schwartz.

Kim Hillegas, a lawsuit plaintiff, says she made six requests for information before that deadline and not a single one has been filled. Despite the minor set-back, Hillegas says she's not discouraged by the Judge's decision. "We're moving forward, and looking forward to discovery, and looking forward to actually getting those answers," says Hillegas.

The next hearing is on Friday. The judge agreed to hear a motion that would give parents correspondence between the Board of Education prior to the March 4 vote.

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