Arkansas Times education reporter Jennifer Barnett Reed:
The Arkansas Supreme Court this afternoon dissolved the temporary restraining order that would have forced the Bryant School District to reopen tiny Paron High School on Aug. 21.
Pulaski County Circuit Judge Jay Moody issued the restraining order on June 29, after a group of Paron parents sued the state Board of Education. The problem, according to the Supreme Court justices, was that the original suit did not name the Bryant School District as a party — Moody added it on the same day he issued the restraining order — and so Bryant didn’t get the chance to argue its case before Moody ruled.
This doesn’t technically mean the case is over — Moody’s original order addressed only the question of whether the case could be decided before the start of school, not whether the Paron parents should prevail on their arguments that they hadn’t been given due process and that the bus ride to Bryant High School was excessively long.
Ron Crawford, grandfather of a Paron student and leader of the effort to keep Paron High School open, said he’ll be meeting with the group’s attorney, Chris Heller, tomorrow morning to decide how to proceed. Many of Paron High’s students had already gotten transfers to other school districts.
“As long as we are given due process in the legal system, whatever the ruling comes out, we will respect it,” Crawford said. “I don’t intend to give up this battle, period, for Paron or the rest of schools in Arkansas that are subject to current administration of the process.”
Text of the court’s ruling is available after the jump.
UPDATE (5:50 p.m.): Crawford said the Paron group will request a hearing before Judge Moody tomorrow morning. “We’re looking at this as a temporary setback,” he said.