Union County parents seeking to upend the school board’s approval of a redistricting plan are delaying filing a lawsuit until next week out of respect for this week’s funeral of a school board member.
Parents initially intended to file the suit this week over the contentious plan to deal with overcrowding by having several thousand students change schools.
The school board, in a surprise vote that was not on their agenda, approved redistricting early last week. The board member who happened to introduce that motion, 77-year-old John Crowder, died of a stroke Sunday.
Crowder had served on the county school board, and a predecessor board in Monroe, for 31 years.
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A public viewing will be held from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday at Harris Funeral Home & Cremation Service in Monroe.
Crowder’s funeral will be at 2 p.m. Friday at Central United Methodist Church in Monroe. Interment will follow in Monroe’s Lakeland Memorial Park.
Parents are delaying the lawsuit until early next week “out of respect for Mr. Crowder,” said Chris Bernard, one of the parents helping to put together the suit. “We do not want to interfere in any way with his services.”
Parents plan to challenge the vote on procedural and transparency issues.
School board Chairman Richard Yercheck has said the lengthy process was transparent and the board properly acted last week after a motion was made and seconded. Two board members, Marce Savage and Sherry Hodges, opposed the redistricting plan.
The original redistricting plan would have sent about 5,800 students out of 41,800, or 14 percent of the total, to new schools. But that redistricting total will decline somewhat, at least in the short term.
School board members modified the plan before approving it, and allowed current fourth-graders, seventh-graders and all high school students the option of remaining in their current school as long as their parents can provide transportation.
Students would be redistricted after they finish elementary or middle school.