Monday, January 17, 2011

Judicial Review of School Board Action – Bill Not Reported out of Subcommittee

SB 840 (Sen. Petersen) was considered today by the Public Education Subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Education and Health.  This bill would amend Va. Code § 22.1-87 (which provides for judicial review of school board actions) to allow the parent of any school-aged child eligible to attend a school directly affected by an action of a school board to challenge such school board action.  The bill was intended to allow parents to file a court action to challenge school closings but, as written, would also allow parents of children who do not even attend the public schools (i.e. private school or home schooled students) to challenge decisions of the school board.  The bill would also allow challenges to nearly every decision of a school board – from assigning principals and teachers to particular schools to setting class schedules and lunch menus.  We opposed this bill on these and other grounds.  There was no motion to report the bill out of the subcommittee.  Unlike the House, however, in the Senate the full Committee may still consider and act upon the bill.