News and notes from Reston (tm).

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Redistricting Fever: For $135,000, We'll Write War and Peace and Bratz

The price tag for the awesome pro-school lawsuit filed by awesome pro-school booster club FairfaxCAPS to re-redistrict South Lakes High School's boundaries to a six-square-mile plat north of the Arctic Circle and declare IB an un-American activity has now hit $135,000 and counting. You know, that's a lot of money that could have been spent on band programs AP tests sports booster club fundraisers whatever the backers of the suit claimed they were so concerned about in the first place.

Luckily, the money was well-spent, right?

When this legal process started, I publicly stated that I thought our odds of winning a court injunction were slim.
Whoops! Never fear, though, because things are looking up!
As we near the end of the legal process everyone concurs, the School Board’s argument at the hearing July 3rd was weak. Normally, government administrative bodies tend to win cases brought against them. The law tends to favor their decision-making as something a judge should not second guess. However, our legal team believes our chances of winning a court injunction have notably improved.

At this juncture, the case is the Petitioners’ to win or lose. The School Board decided the West County redistricting based on considerations not authorized by State law. In addition, the way they arrived at their decision was specious in all sorts of respects. Based on Judge Finch’s comments, we anticipate he is taking this ruling seriously and will send a strong message in issuing his decision. Our goal is an injunction against proceeding with the redistricting decision made on February 28. We are hopeful that Judge Finch will grant our request.
Hmmm. This seems like it's going somewhere... wait for it....
At the end of the hearing, Judge Finch unexpectedly asked for post-hearing briefs from both the Petitioners and the School Board County. Our legal team believes the request for final legal briefs is very positive. Unfortunately, additional costs come with the need to file this final brief.

Our total cost for this legal action will be approximately $135,000. This is relatively inexpensive, despite how it sounds. It is actually less than one-third of the original estimated cost for this case. Thanks to your FairfaxCAPS volunteers, we have been able to contain costs. Volunteers spent hundreds of hours developing and building the challenge to this troubling School Board action into a very strong case. Our outside litigating attorney, Steven Stone, is a well-respected education law attorney who is doing a fine job. He also has done everything possible to contain costs. To date we have paid $120,000 in legal fees and have $15,000 remaining to pay.
... and SCENE!

Still, $15,000 seems pretty steep for a legal brief, particularly when your principal argument appears to be cribbed from a 19th century Dickens serial. We can only wonder what the itemized invoice for preparing the brief might look like:
* Ream of office paper, $5.99
* Inkjet printer ribbon, $34.99
* Copying fees at Kinko's... $12.99
* 700 Anytime Minutes, pre-paid wireless, $49.99
* Legal dictionary, $125.99
* Bratz dolls (for experimentation purposes), $11.99
* Knowing you've helped protect people from "those coming from poverty".... priceless.

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