Updated 02/24/2011 05:07 PM
Court of Appeals may reinstate lawsuit against Wake school board
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RALEIGH— The N.C. Court of Appeals is deciding whether to reinstate a lawsuit against the Wake County School Board.
A Wake County Superior Court judge dismissed the case but that ruling was appealed. The case centers around whether the school board violated the state's open meeting laws. The lawsuit was filed by a group of Wake County citizens who said the school board had been keeping them out of meetings and therefore violating the Open Meetings Act.
The citizens' attorney, Mark Dorosin, argued that the board knew the meeting held this past March focusing on school assignment plan would generate a lot of controversy and arrangements should have been made to accommodate for extra space. He attorney cited one meeting where only staff and media were allowed in due to space limitations and argued that the school board had access to larger rooms.
"They had meeting after meeting where people were standing in the hallway," said Dorosin. "They couldn’t accommodate the public. This wasn’t a surprise. So for them not to take steps to try to accommodate a meaningful amount of the people who wanted to attend, I think was unreasonable."
The school board attorney, Kieran Shanahan, argued that the public had plenty of access to information from the meetings. The media that was present at the meetings helped to allow for transparency.
"These were some of the most open meetings in the history of North Carolina," said Shanahan. "You had national media attention, you had local media attention, you had webcasts."
No official date has been set on the hearing but a ruling is expected within the next 90 days.