(BEDFORD) – NLCS Parents Group Limited, a nonprofit organization formed in response to recent discussions on and proposals for school consolidation in Lawrence County, has filed a civil complaint in the Lawrence County Circuit Court against the North Lawrence Community School Corporation seeking an injunction to void the school board’s January 6, 2020 vote to close several elementary schools and one middle school.
NLCS Parents Group Ltd. is represented by Alex Robbins, a local attorney who owns and operates the Law Office of Alex Robbins, and by Jacob Ahler of the Law Office of Riley and Ahler in Rensselaer, Indiana.
Trisha Turner, the Chairman of NLCS Parents Group Ltd., says the organization is “not anti-consolidation” and that its board members have differing viewpoints on the issue. They say that the group came together over concerns that the school board and administration was not being truthful and transparent during the pre-consolidation process.
“It’s our belief that the board and the NLCS administration, under Superintendent Dr. Ty Mungle, did not adhere to Open Door Laws on multiple occasions,” Turner stated. “The ODL exists to give members of the public an opportunity to observe and record meetings of the governing bodies of public agencies.”
“We started out as just a few parents that were trying to understand the consolidation process as it was being laid out before us and educate ourselves and those around us on the details,” Turner added.
Turner continued, saying, “As things progressed, we continued to hear from folks that weren’t getting answers to their questions when emailing the board or that we’re afraid to speak out because of retaliation from the administration.”
“We realized that this the community needs a group that will hear their concerns about their kids’ educational experiences, their teachers’ fears and the consequences communities will face without rural schools,” Turner concluded.
So the group of parents established their nonprofit to become the advocate they felt the community needed.
NLCS Parents Group Ltd. contends that the school corporation failed to meet the requirements specified on January 6, 2020 when Mungle presented the fourth and final plan for school consolidation and the school board passed the resolution with a vote of 4 to 3.
The complaint alleges that the primary issue with the January 6th meeting was that by holding it at the small administration building, rather than the Performing Arts Center at Bedford North Lawrence High School (where prior meetings on the matter of consolidation had been held), the school corporation excluded members of the public because the room was not large enough to accommodate all who wished to attend and no video or audio aids were set up for those who could not enter the hall.
The group also claims that for the same reason, the meeting was not accessible to individuals with disabilities.
While the board members of NLCS Parents Group Ltd. may not share a single view on consolidation, the board is in unison on what they hope comes out of their civil complaint.