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Thursday, July 25, 2019

What would happen if DCPS defied the city attorney

DCPS has been under a barrage of withering attacks by the Mayor and City Council. Their misdeed? Wanting to upgrade the city's schools, something that is universally agreed upon. So the board, which is duly elected by the way, which has powers outlined in the state constitution decided they have had enough and wanted to hire an attorney, the city attorney told them no, that they couldn't.

From the Times Union, 

  The discussion started back in May when Gabriel said the City Council could choose “whether and when” voters could decide on a school sales tax.
At the time, the board treated the memorandum as a legally binding opinion.
Since Gabriel told City Council and School Board members that wasn’t the case — that the memo was a legal opinion and not law — the gloves have come off.
That realization ignited the School Board’s move during an emergency meeting Tuesday to seek outside legal counsel — something lawyers said the board couldn’t do — if Hershey and Gabriel’s meeting didn’t raise any new issues.
“There is no Charter authority for obtaining outside counsel to challenge the opinion of the office,” Gabriel said Wednesday afternoon in an email, following his meeting with Hershey. “After a courteous and productive two hour meeting, it concluded with no additional requests or questions from Chairwoman Hershey.”
So let me make sure you have this right, when the board wanted to have a special sales tax referendum, something many other districts have done with zero problems, the city attorney's shop made a completely ridiculous ruling that ignores statutes and  changed the meaning of the word shall that threw the entire city into upheaval and put the sales tax referendum in doubt and when it turns out the ruling was just a junior lawyers opinion and the school board wanted to hire outside council to get the referendum on the ballot, Gabriel said no and that he will have a ruling of his own sometime in August.
Well friends what would happen if the school board went ahead and hired a lawyer? I mean decorum and collegiality along with decency have long ago been thrown out the window. What kind of penalty could the city attorney give the school board? Take away their authority to manage the city's schools? Rob them of resources, um, that's what they are already doing.
The school board who I think has done a great job needs to realize you can't play by the rules when there are no rules.   

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