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Lawyers for city, school board laid out their case in court

August 01, 2019 09:52 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Lawyers for the Rochester City School Board and the City of Rochester laid out their case Thursday in Monroe County Court.

The school board filed a lawsuit against the city asking the court for an injunction to stop a referendum on the ballot in November and to keep voters from deciding the school board's future. 

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Mayor Lovely Warren wants voters to decide if the state should take over the school district. But the school board claims the proposal is illegal and issuing the city.

Deputy Corporation Counsel Patrick Beath and Corporation Counsel Tim Curtin were in court Thursday to answer the school board's call for an injunction and argue the city's position.

Curtin says the mayor wants to know want parents and the community want the city to do about its struggling school district.

"So, she's very concerned with them voting and she's very concerned with the health of our school district in recognizing the district needs a bit of help...so she wants people to come out and vote so their voice can be heard," said Curtin 

The attorney representing the school board characterized the referendum as an expensive opinion poll and that the city could find other, less expensive ways, to find out what neighbors think and save taxpayers $10,000.

The city wants to remove the board and commissioner's salaries.

"We're seeking to change the charter to eliminate elective offices of the city for a period of five years under the municipal home rule law. In order to do that, we have to have a referendum. That's what the law says and that's why the city is doing," Curtin added. 

School Board Commissioner Willa Powell was in court as an observer but she says the school board is its own governing body just like the Rochester City Council.

"Parents and voters just elected a school board two returning members and two brand new members and from my perspective, the city's move is disrespecting the election that just took place."

The judge plans to hand down a ruling Friday morning where we will learn if the City of Rochester will be able to go forward with a referendum.

WHECTV

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