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Mon June 2, 2014
Graves Residents File Emergency Injunction to Halt Cuba Elementary Sale
The attorney representing the group of disgruntled residents suing the Graves County Board of Education has filed an emergency injunction to halt the sale of Cuba Elementary School.
Lexington attorney Jim Deckard filed the motion with the Franklin Circuit Court Friday calling for the court to prohibit the removal of school equipment tomorrow, June 3, and the auctioning off of the school as surplus property June 18.
The school board voted in December of last year to close the school citing low enrollment which never exceeded 200 students in the last seven years as well as high facility maintenance costs. The board opted to auction the school as surplus property in March.
In April, the group of residents, including parent of a Cuba student Josh Cherry, sued the school for allegedly following the improper procedures in changing the school’s status from “permanent” to “transitional” making it eligible for closure for financial reasons.
Board Attorney David Hargrove says the injunction was an expected move and now awaits a judge's ruling on June 11.
“Well, the motion is what it is," said Hargrove. "Obviously they, the plaintiffs, would like to stop some things if they could which involves the sale of the property and things, but that all will be heard by the court, that’s the whole purpose of the lawsuit. The court will hear the evidence and determine whether or not enough exists to grant the injunction, which is a temporary measure.”
The lawsuit disputes the finding process used to close the school. Hargrove says the school did everything by the book, but that the process was not even legally required for the board to take action.
"That said, there is a finding process for if you’re going to do certain things with properties like change them on your long-range plan," said Hargrove. "Obviously we’re saying that they did the process correctly but regardless it wasn’t even something they had to do.
"But the action they took is something that they could do, that’s what a school board does. Their job is to administer the schools in the most efficient way possible for the kids and the taxpayers . [The closing of Cuba] wasn’t even something they necessarily wanted to do but economics dictated this and that’s the move they had to make.”
Hargrove says he anticipates the court to dismiss the board members from the suit, as the individuals are not liable for the actions of the board as a whole, which he says is common practice.
Last week, the board selected Bunch Bros. Auction group to conduct the property sale which the board expects to receive $62,000 based on the Chief Financial Officer’s appraisal and set the auction date.
Pending the injunction, the school is set to close June 30, after which time the 155 Cuba students will be integrated into Wingo and Sedalia schools at the beginning of the next school year.