Judge Denies Injunction In Dispute Over Modular Wakefield School Site
Posted July 29, 2005 7:07 a.m. EDT
WAKE COUNTY, N.C. — A Wake County judge denied a request Friday for an injunction by parents who are opposed to a proposed modular school site.
Under the Wake County reassignment plan, more than 2,000 kids would be shuffled to three modular elementary schools around the county. One of those sites is the Dubois Center.
Angry parents from Wakefield Elementary and Wildwood Forest Elementary said the Dubois Center is too far away and there is too much crime in the area.
County commissioners vetoed the plan, but the school board approved a two-year lease with the Dubois Association anyway.
"To order the school board to abandon this almost-completed school facility some four weeks before children are supposed to be again attending school would be a great economic loss to the county, the taxpayers," said Superior Court Judge Wade Barber. "More importantly, it would be a loss of quality education to some 500 students."
Parents barely reacted in the courtroom and afterward, declined to comment about the case. They would not say whether they will appeal Barber's ruling.
Friday's ruling is a potential end to the battle over the Dubois site, but the judge left one question unanswered -- whether the whole deal was legal in the first place.
Attorneys for the parents argued that under the law, local boards cannot construct school buildings on property they do not own. The school board's attorneys countered by saying board members are within their rights because it is a temporary structure and students would move to a permanent school when it is completed in 2007.
Even without a decision on the law, Wake County school leaders got the decision they wanted.
"It's a great ruling for the school system. It allows them to get back to the business of educating kids," said the school board's attorney, Ken Soo. "We have a serious overcrowding situation and we need creative solutions.
While Barber did not decide on the legal aspect of the case, he said he felt the school system acted in good faith.
The legal issue of leasing land and using modular schools could come up again as Wake County is growing at a rapid rate. About 500 students will attend the Dubois Center for two years until a new school is built closer to their homes.
Two other new modular schools on school owned property have no organized opposition.