Charter School Officials Wins Suit Against City of Monroe

Charter School Officials Wins Suit Against City of Monroe

A judge has sided with a group and its bid to open a charter school in Monroe.
UPDATE: A judge has sided with a group and its bid to open a charter school in Monroe.

Excellence Academy is trying to open a school on Washington Street, but were denied a special exemption by the Monroe Board of Adjustments.

Rev. Roosevelt Wright of New Tabernacle Baptist Church and Excellence Academy filed suit against the city of Monroe in July.

According to the Excellence Academy web site, the charter school will serve sixth to eight graders in a space at 811 Washington Street in Monroe. The school is expected to open in September.


UPDATE:
The opening of an up and coming Monroe charter school is at risk after a city board denies one the requests from school officials. Now a lawsuit is pending against the City of Monroe in an effort to reverse the decision.

"Everyday our workers are working, parents are working, we have teachers volunteering since may, not getting paid may, june, july, the teachers are excited," says Rev. Roosevelt Wright. He's describing the the ongoing work to make sure the Excellence Academy is ready by the end of Summer. The charter school is set to open in September after receiving approval from the Monroe City School Board and supportive votes from the Monroe City Council, the Historical Preservation Commission, and the Planning Commission.

"We're going to give them something to be proud about this time next year, when they see kids who have been failing doing some great things," says Wright.

The Excellence Academy sits at 811 Washington Street. Wright is the brains behind the building's revamp, but the denial of a special exemption by the Board of Adjustments has put the project at a stand still. Despite that, Wright says every one of his students is holding tight to their spot in the school.

"We started off with 239 and we still have 239, with the waiting list getting longer and longer and longer," he says.

Wright says he can't comment on the lawsuit against the City of Monroe, because of the pending litigation. Planning and Zoning Director Joanne Poret says by filing the lawsuit, Wright is taking the proper steps to appeal the decision by the Board of Adjustments.

According to court documents, Wright says he did not receive the certified letter required notifying him of the meeting with the Board of Adjustments. In addition, he says Poret did not provide the needed documents to the board. The exchange is detailed in the meeting minutes.

 Board member Frank Taylor Jr. says quote: "I can ask for this board to see those plans if we need to see the plans. We have been presented plans like that before in the past, so why not now?
   
Poret replies: "You don't need to see the plans."

 The board also discussed an unnamed bar within 300 feet of Excellence Academy before they voted three-to-one to deny the request. The owner of that building, Otis Jones says he has no issue with the school at the Washington Street location, but would not comment further on the businesses operating within the building he owns across the street from Excellence Academy.

Wright says the decision and lawsuit are just an obstacle on the way to his finish line.

"We will be open on September the third, just as planned and we will be moving and going those great things," says Wright.

A hearing date has not yet been scheduled to consider the lawsuit.

You can read the full lawsuit by clicking the attachment below. To read the meeting minutes, click here.



ORIGINAL STORY:
Officials from a new Monroe charter school have filed a lawsuit against the City of Monroe. 


City Attorney Nanci Summersgill says she has received a lawsuit filed by Rev. Roosevelt Wright of New Tabernacle Baptist Church and Excellence Academy.

Wright says the lawsuit pertains to the Board of Adjustments' denial of a special exemption the Excellence Academy applied for in order to open in an area zoned Residential. Wright says he had turned in all of the needed documents in May to the Planning & Zoning Division, but the director did not provide them to the Board of Adjustment, resulting in the denial. Wright says he also did not received the required certified letter notifying him of the meeting.

Wright says,"Someone along the way dropped the ball."

He wants the decision to be reversed or for a hearing to be scheduled on the matter.

According to the Excellence Academy web site, the charter school will serve sixth to eight graders in a space at 811 Washington Street in Monroe. The school is expected to open in September.

Summersgill says she cannot comment further on the case until she can further familiarize herself with it.

You can view a draft of the lawsuit below.
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