COMMENTARY: 26 Years Later, School Fight Continues


August 21, 2013

Looking through some old files recently, I reflected on how much time I had spent being a community servant, running up and down Highway 13 attending board and committee meetings in Northampton and Accomack counties. And then I found a file that documented the demise of the Cape Charles school system 26 years ago.

I was appointed to the Cape Charles School Board in 1982. As I looked at documents from the United States Justice Department Civil Rights Division, Northampton County School Board, the county superintendent, Cape Charles School Board, the town superintendent, the State Board of Education, and numerous letters from attorneys involved in the case, including from the Department of Justice, I remembered how long and intensive the battle was to retain the independent school system in Cape Charles, along with ownership of the building.

The battle started civilly, but then it turned into a major war. The Town was divided and there were heated exchanges wherever you went, especially at the Town Council meetings.

The Cape Charles School Board accused the Northampton County School System of violating a consent decree by allowing Cape Charles students to attend their schools.

The Town Council charged the School Board with malfeasance or misfeasance and demanded an investigation by the State Police.

Meanwhile, the Cape Charles School Board charged the Town with siphoning off funds earmarked for the school. These were just a few of the allegations and charges being thrown around during that time. [Read more…]