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Judge Clears Way for RPS Redistricting Trial



A Richmond Circuit Court judge ruled Friday that a lawsuit brought by a parent unhappy with the School Board’s redistricting decisions can move to trial.

RPS parent Kimberly Johnson Jones sued the board in September, saying its decision to close Clark Springs Elementary and redistrict its students was part of a “bad faith” campaign that violated open meeting laws. Judge Richard D. Taylor Jr.’s Friday ruling denied the board’s request to throw out the suit.

RPS attorney Jim Guynn argued Johnson Jones’ complaint didn’t merit a trial because it centered around Freedom of Information Act violations, but Taylor’s ruling states the suit’s allegations run deeper. He notes that Johnson Jones’ complaint alleges some members violated “certain public policies in order to effect unlawful purposes, and that this behavior is arbitrary and capricious.”

The judge was referring to allegations that at least two school board members worked behind the scenes to change the redistricting plan to favor a select group of parents. Johnson Jones’ attorney, Charlie Schmidt, says he looks forward to putting board members on the stand.

“That’s the biggest victory we see in overcoming the motion to dismiss,” he says, adding, “it allows us to force them under oath to force them to answer our questions about what happened.”

Schmidt said he expects a trial to occur in the next few months.

Guynn did respond to a request for comment.

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