Judge: School system doesn’t have to abide by tenure law
Guilford County Schools will not have to abide by a new state law that eliminates teacher tenure — for now.
In a hearing in Guilford County Superior Court on Wednesday, Judge Richard Doughton granted a preliminary injunction that allows the school system to bypass the new law, which requires school systems to ask 25 percent of teachers to relinquish their tenure by June 30 and replace the tenures with four-year contracts.
Other plaintiffs in the suit against the state of North Carolina include Guilford County Schools Superintendent Mo Green and Durham Public Schools.
The injunction will be in place while the case is pending.
Doughton also denied the state’s motions to dismiss, finding that the plaintiffs showed they had grounds to challenge the constitutionality of the mandate and that they were “likely to succeed on the merits of their claim and that there would be irreparable harm if a preliminary injunction were not issued preserving the status quo.”
Guilford County Schools filed the legal action on March 17.
The suit asks the court to declare that the Republican-controlled N.C. General Assembly’s retroactive invalidation of contractual teacher tenure rights granted by local school boards is unconstitutional. The suit also seeks “temporary and permanent” relief from the recent legislative mandate requiring school boards to abide by the 25 percent mandate.
Guilford County school board Vice Chairman Amos Quick said the lawsuit’s purpose is to clarify the law and hopefully declare it unconstitutional.
According to the lawsuit, “the abolition of vested tenure and the 25 percent mandate force the Boards and Superintendent into an untenable position in which they either: (1) implement the Act, but violate the North Carolina and United States Constitutions and face exposure to the threat of litigation; or (2) refuse to implement the Act, but face potential criminal prosecution.”
The lawsuit also cites concerns regarding the vagueness and contradictory language contained in the legislation, noting it is “so loosely, obscurely, and inconsistently written that the Boards and Superintendent must necessarily guess at its meaning and may apply it differently than other boards and superintendents across the state.”
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