Class action lawsuit tied to plans to close Cabarrus County school

CABARRUS COUNTY, N.C. — Some parents are trying to stop plans to close Beverly Hills Elementary School in Cabarrus County.

That decision, made in February, has sparked a new lawsuit that cites several complaints against the board.

Cabarrus County school board members voted in February to close Beverly Hills Elementary at the end of the school year, but the fight to save it is far from over.

Beverly Hills parent Amber Williams is one of the plaintiffs named in a recently filed class action complaint.

“What’s been done is so wrong on so many levels. We are hoping to just roll this back. I really didn’t want to, I didn’t feel like I had a choice,” Williams said.

School officials have said the decision to close Beverly Hills was part of a plan to address the aging school while also redrawing district lines.

“People in our community did not even know what was happening, and we feel like if it was done properly, it would be very hard to close this school,” Williams explained.

The complaint alleges that district leaders and board members failed to follow state law by conducting a study on how closing Beverly Hills would impact the welfare of its current and future students. It also says that district officials failed to notify the community of a public hearing on closing the beloved school.

Beverly Hills parent Lee Shuman said he is leading the Save Our School Association.

“No one knows exactly what it’s going to cost to fix anything at this school,” Shuman said. “The filing of the complaint is really about asking the question why and getting some answers.”

The group is asking the court to declare that the board acted outside of its decretion, to set aside the vote to close Beverly Hills, and to issue an injunction to stop Cabarrus County school leaders from proceeding with the closure so that students can return next year.

“People don’t trust the school system when those things happen. The trust has broken down; the transparency is not there; the honesty is not there,” Shuman explained.

Legal counsel for the Cabarrus County Board of Education released a statement regarding the lawsuit, saying:

“The complaint is unfounded. The Board’s decision to close Beverly Hills Elementary School complied with all applicable laws and was made by the Board only after thorough study and consideration of all reasonable options. Ultimately, the Board’s decision was intended to and will benefit all students, particularly the Beverly Hills students, who will have the opportunity to learn in newer, safer, and more modern facilities.”

VIDEO: ‘It’s sad’: Parents voice opposition after Cabarrus County’s decision to close school

Jonathan Lowe

Jonathan Lowe, wsoctv.com

Jonathan is a reporter for WSOC-TV.