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The statewide school division created to take over failing schools was ruled unconstitutional.
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s office will not defend one of Gov. Bob McDonnell’s key education measures in an anticipated legal challenge after his analysis concluded that it’s unconstitutional.
Cuccinelli sent a letter with the news to McDonnell on Aug. 27 — the same day that the governor stood outside a Norfolk school and gave a hearty defense of the statewide school division created to take over academically failing local schools.
McDonnell championed the measure, which struggled to pass in this year’s General Assembly and now faces a challenge from the Virginia School Boards Association and Norfolk City schools.
“I write to certify to you that, given an analysis of the constitutional issues involved, my office cannot defend this lawsuit,” Cuccinelli wrote in the letter.
He said McDonnell may employ special counsel or other assistance to represent the named defendants.
While the Opportunity Educational Institution legislation became law in July, the full board of lawmakers and gubernatorial appointees has not been named, and an executive director has not been hired.
Despite the latest twist, McDonnell’s office on Tuesday indicated it would keep up the fight.
McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin said the office looks forward to working with special counsel to “vigorously defend” the law, and that the administration is working with the attorney general’s office “to determine the details of how we will move forward.”
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