July 11th, 2012 by WCBC Radio
A final legal effort on the part of parents in the Little Orleans area to reverse a 2011 decision by the Allegany County Board of Education was rejected this week in Circuit Court. The parents right to send their kids to neighboring Washington County is at the heart of the battle. For the last decade — ever since consolidation closed Flintstone School — about 40 Little Orleans children have attended middle and high school in Hancock, which is geographically closer than Cumberland. But in the spring of last year, the board voted to phase out the program, while allowing about 20 high school students to finish their education in Hancock. Another 20 middle school students were not included in the grandfather clause, prompting a group of about three dozen families to file a lawsuit against the Allegany BOE. Little Orleans parents lost several battles last year in the fight to keep their children in Washington County schools — first to the Allegany County Board of Education, then to a circuit court judge, then to the Maryland State Board of Education; , which rejected an appeal. During this year’s session of the Maryland General Assembly, Delegate Leroy Myers introduced a bill that would have allowed the students, and others across the state living in border counties, to have the option of attending out of county schools without having to pay tuition. In the end, that bill got no where. Late last year, Little Orleans parent Linda Martin filed a petition in Allegany County Circuit Court for judicial review of the process. On Monday, Judge Gary Leasure affirmed the actions and decisions of the state and local board’s of education in this matter- covering four specific points including the legality of the local board’s action.