Thursday, June 07, 2012
Virginia Supreme Court Upholds Fairfax County School Board's Actions Under Open Meetings Laws
On June 7, the Supreme Court of Virginia found that e-mails exchanged among members of the Fairfax County School Board complied with the Open Meetings provisions of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act.
In a 12-page opinion, the Supreme Court affirmed the dismissal of a lawsuit brought by Plaintiff Jill DeMello Hill to annul the School Board's July 2010 decision to close Clifton Elementary School. The Court agreed with an earlier decision by the Circuit Court of Fairfax County which found no impropriety in the e-mails exchanged among School Board members in the days leading to the vote. The Court also agreed that Ms. Hill was not entitled to have the School Board pay her attorneys' fees. Ms. Hill's lawsuit was the second of two suits to overturn the vote to close Clifton Elementary. The first case, filed in 2010, was also rejected by the Circuit Court of Fairfax County and the Supreme Court of Virginia.
“The School Board takes very seriously its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act,” said Janie Strauss, Fairfax County School Board chair. “We are gratified that the Supreme Court has agreed that our members' actions were fully within the law."
Note: For more information, contact the Fairfax County Public Schools Department of Communications and Community Outreach at 571-423-1200.