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Alexandria school board supports lawsuit against McDonnell’s takeover law

The Alexandria school board voted Thursday night to support a lawsuit waged by the Norfolk City School Board against Gov. McDonnell’s school takeover law.

In a unanimous vote, the board adopted a resolution stating that the “Opportunity Education Institution” legislation “usurps the role of local school boards in supervising and managing the public schools.”

Under the law, any school that is denied state accreditation or accredited with warning for three consecutive years can be taken into a statewide school district.

Norfolk would be the hardest hit school district initially — with as many as three schools in jeopardy of a state takeover.

In Alexandria, Jefferson Houston School would also be eligible for a state takeover.

“The idea that somehow this awful piece of legislation is going to be a quick remedy for any of our simply misguided,” said board vice chairman Justin P. Keating.

The lawsuit, being filed by the Norfolk City School Board and the Virginia School Boards Association, maintains that the law violates the state constitution. They hope to prevent the new state board from taking any steps toward carrying it out.

Alexandria board members emphasized at their meeting Thursday that their support of the lawsuit did not represent any financial commitment.

Board president Karen Graf clarified that the Norfolk school board is “shouldering the lawsuit at this point.”

Michael Alison Chandler writes about schools and families in the Washington region.

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