Furlough decree skipped process of public hearings, lawyer argues


POSTED: Tuesday, October 27, 2009

An isle attorney has filed an additional argument in his clients' bid to overturn a state budgetary decision to cut 17 days of public school.

The amended motion by attorney Carl Varady alleges the state violated its own administrative procedures by imposing furloughs without a public hearing.

“;The idea is that by not going through the hearing process and giving people an opportunity to comment, the state has deprived every parent of the opportunity to have their say about this important issue,”; Varady said yesterday. “;We don't think the state should be cutting the school year from what was proposed at the beginning of the year without having to go through public hearings.”;

Varady, who filed the amended motion electronically Sunday, said his clients want the court to order the state to go through the public hearing process and stop Furlough Fridays.

A federal court is scheduled to review Varady's argument on Nov. 5, in addition to his original motion claiming the furloughs violate federal law designed to protect special-needs students.

U.S. District Judge David Ezra denied on Thursday a request on behalf of special-needs students for an order to halt the first Furlough Friday.

Ezra said it was too late to switch gears.

Varady, who is now seeking a preliminary injunction, said the state has come in with a “;meat ax”; approach to reducing education costs.

He said no other state he knows of has eliminated instructional days.

State education spokeswoman Sandra Goya said the department has not seen the lawsuit and was unable to comment.