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Parents' $30 million suit moves to federal court



Published: Wed, August 22, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The hearing has not been scheduled.

By PEGGY SINKOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- A $30 million suit filed in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court by some 50 parents whose children attend Prospect Elementary School has been moved to U.S. District Court in Youngstown.

Attorneys for the Girard Board of Education filed a motion Tuesday to have the case moved to federal court.

Court officials said a federal judge can accept the case or have it sent back to state court. A hearing date has not been set.

The suit, which was filed earlier this month, contends that the school has health problems because it is connected to the intermediate school.

The suit wants a judge to order that the school be closed when classes resume in the district this month. Parents said they want their children to go to a different building.

Other lawsuit: This is the second suit involving Girard schools that has been moved to federal court.

The former intermediate school principal's lawsuit was moved to federal court last week.

Robert Foley, former intermediate school principal, filed suit against the board of education because he has been transferred to the junior high school.

Attorneys representing Foley say the principal was transferred in retaliation because he informed parents about health problems at Girard Intermediate School.

Foley wanted to persuade a judge to order the board to halt his transfer to the junior high.

Foley filed the lawsuit last month, seeking more than $2 million. The suit states that Foley was transferred against his will.

Board officials say state law allows the superintendent to assign administrators to positions where they are needed.

Officials note that Foley's move was not a punishment or a demotion and that Foley received his regular pay last year plus a bonus.

Rucci, however, says the board moved Foley because Foley sent a letter March 26 to parents about the school's condition.

Sickness: The school closed May 1 because of pupil, staff and teacher illnesses. A report from an environmental company listed mold and fungus in the carpeting and a poor ventilation system as the cause of the sicknesses.

The district is replacing the carpeting and doing other work to correct the problem.

Foley has been intermediate principal eight years. He served as junior high school principal from 1986 through 1993.

Several parents have also filed a lawsuit last week in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court asking that the board members be removed because they didn't inform parents of the alleged health problems at the school. That suit is still pending in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court.




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