Board likely to face lawsuit over consolidation

Published 4:35 am Thursday, February 7, 2008

By Staff
Competitions between Jamesville, Bear Grass schools face extinction
Staff Writer
BEAR GRASS — The Jamesville Bullets downed the Bear Grass Bears on Tuesday night when the two teams met on the Bears’ home court. But the boys in blue won’t get the chance for a rematch.
The night before the basketball game, the Martin County Board of Education voted to close the two schools before the start of next school year. That didn’t phase either team’s fans. Each school’s cheerleading squad rooted independently for its team before those squads came together at halftime, sharing pompoms and leading spectators in a chant of “Four schools.” The chant is a battle cry for people who want to keep the county’s four high schools open in coming years.
Earlier in the evening, the Bear Grass girls pulled out a win over the Jamesville girls, splitting the night’s wins between the two schools.
Monday night, the school board voted to consolidate Martin County’s four high schools into two, which will close Bear Grass and Jamesville high schools and send their students to Williamston and Roanoke high schools. Hodges, and a coalition of parents and students from Bear Grass and Jamesville, are determined to prevent the consolidation.
Calling itself the Concerned Citizens of Bear Grass and Jamesville, the group has put attorney Robert Hunter of Greensboro on retainer to sue the school board. An injunction against the school board could be issued as soon as this week, if a court approves the request for an injunction, according to Hunter and Hodges. The group is collecting affidavits, including some from school board members who opposed consolidation, to include in the injunction request, which is expected to be filed today, Hodges said.
Beck said she and most of the Jamesville and Bear Grass supporters who attended the schools board’s meeting expected the board to vote for consolidation. Before the question was called, shouts of “Four to two” could be heard foretelling the board’s vote.
Hodges, who helped spearhead the fundraising effort to keep four high schools in Martin County, said he and fellow supporters who attended a public hearing on the matter on Jan. 28 knew then how the board would vote on the matter. For each person speaking in favor of consolidation at the hearing, eight spoke against it. Beck said the words spoken by consolidation opponents “fell on deaf ears,” something Beck said she knew would happen before she spoke at the hearing.