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Judge Won't Keep Bear Grass School Open

A judge in Pender County has denied issuing a temporary restraining order that would have kept Bear Grass School open as residents pursue a lawsuit against the State Board of Education and the Martin County Board of Education.

The school closed at the end of the school year as part of a consolidation effort in Martin County. Earlier this year residents were unsuccessful in getting the state to make Bear Grass a charter school.

Bear Grass Educational Foundation members say they first filed the lawsuit against Martin County Schools and the State Board of Education in 2008 because the county didn't hold the proper community meetings necessary to close the school.
Last May, the judge put the case on hold for a year - saying Bear Grass could try to turn itself into a charter school and no one should interfere with the process.

But Educational Foundation members say the state school board denied their charter school request because Martin County Schools interfered - which is why they want the lawsuit reopened.

Judge Gary Trawick denied the foundation's request to keep the school open, saying it was too close to the start of the school year to make that happen. Instead, the judge said a trial on the case will be heard in early September.

Parents who attended the hearing in Burgaw say their fight to have a school in Bear Grass isn't over and their hope is one day to have the school reopen.


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