LTM: Horne rules against parents

By Laura Peters

Loudoun Times Mirror

Aug. 20, 2012

Residents of the CL19 cluster in Leesburg will not see a resolve after a Loudoun County Circuit Court judge ruled today in favor of the Loudoun County School Board after a three-day trial last week.

Eric Dekenipp, a resident of Potomac Station, filed a suit against the Loudoun County School Board after their decision last year involving the redistricting of Leesburg school boundaries. According to Dekenipp’s attorney, John Whitbeck, Judge Thomas Horne ruled in favor of the School Board Aug. 20.

“The courts power over the School Board is limited,” Whitbeck said in his closing statements Aug. 16. “If the School Board ruling is not based on fact, law or reason, the court has the ability to overturn it.”

Dekenipp, who’s received a special waiver from Loudoun County Public Schools for one year, will have his daughter attend John W. Tolbert Elementary School this fall. That is not the case for 35 other students who will be bused from Potomac Station – the neighborhood directly across from Tolbert – to the new elementary school Frederick Douglass.

The CL19 group, backed by Dekenipp and Whitbeck, wanted to see the remaining 35 students in question return back to Tolbert this fall.

The other plaintiff in the case, parents of CL5, in the Beacon Hill area, also brought a case against the School Board addressing how the board disregarded its bylaws when adopting the new boundaries. The new plan splits the CL19 cluster and moves neighbors to different schools. It also addresses which schools will hold special education classes – which CL5 had concern over. The new plan was devised to move the fewest number of students in order to create a better boundary system and stability in schools.

CL5’s attorney, Michael Petkovich, declined comment on the status of his case.


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