School Boards to Challenge Va. School Takeover Law

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File photo of an empty classroom. (credit: KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images)

File photo of an empty classroom. (credit: KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images)

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NORFOLK, Va. — The Norfolk School Board has voted to join the Virginia School Boards Association in a lawsuit challenging a new law allowing the state to take over chronically failing schools.

Board spokeswoman Elizabeth Thiel Mather says the board voted 5-2 Wednesday to authorize the lawsuit, which will be filed in Norfolk Circuit Court.

The law was a major component of Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell’s 2013 education agenda. Proponents of the legislation said a handful of schools have been allowed to fail for too long, shortchanging students who are entitled to a quality education.

The school boards association says law usurps authority granted to local school boards by the Virginia Constitution.

The Virginia Attorney General’s Office did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

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