Western Heights, State Dept. Of Education Ordered To Work Together

Monday, August 2nd 2021, 7:20 pm
By: Augusta McDonnell


At Western Heights, a judge said the school district and the state Department of Education need to work together for ten more days.

Judge Timmons gave the Western Heights School Board ten more days to respond to the state’s motion to dismiss their lawsuit that was filed in April. 

But the judge had strong words for both parties, as it remains unclear whether or not the school will be fully prepared to open on August 18. 

“People are waiting to enroll their kids in our district due to the lawsuit that is going on right now,” said Brianna Dodd, a community organizer in Western Heights.  

As a legal resolution continues, looming questions remain unanswered.

“I hope we can open. First and foremost that’s what today is all about -- can we open, in a timely manner, with the proper utensils that we need to run the district,” Dodd said. 

State legal counsel Brad Clark said in Monday’s hearing that transportation for students seems to be in question at the district. 

“At this point, it appears that only 2 of the 34 school buses in the district are operational, as passing inspection,” he said. 

Judge Timmons said it shouldn’t be necessary for her to rush a court order to have legal issues with the district resolved for the school ready on the first day. 

“You got school buses that aren’t running. I would think the acting superintendent appointed by the Western Heights Board and the state Department of Ed would sit down and find some common ground to get these things done for the good of those children,” said Timmons. 

But she scheduled a hearing in ten days where she may make an emergency order to affirm the authority of the state. 

In the meantime, State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister said they are working toward a successful first day. 

“We are going to continue with our pedal to the metal until the day school is ready to open,” said Hofmeister.

News 9 has been unable to confirm if there will be enough teachers certified to hold classes on the first day. 

In a press release, Western Heights Superintendent Kim Race said busses are under repair at the district.