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FOUNTAIN VALLEY : Temporary Order Bans Sale of School

A judge has ordered the school district not to lease or sell Fountain Valley Elementary School until a lawsuit challenging its proposed closure is settled.

Orange County Superior Court Judge W. F. Rylaarsdam issued the temporary restraining order pending his ruling on the suit on May 11.

The suit was filed in February by the Future Education Protection Committee, a parent group with about 40 members. The committee, which seeks a permanent injunction to prevent closing of the school, claims the board’s decision was premature and did not adequately consider the students’ safety and the impact on neighboring schools.

The lawsuit contends that the decision was made even though “there are other schools within the district with smaller pupil populations, and district and other studies show an increased population in the city.”

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The plaintiffs charge that Roch Courreges Elementary, one of the three alternative schools, is near power lines, and that those electromagnetic fields could be dangerous.

But Eric Smith, attorney for the district, said a recent study commissioned by the state Legislature to measure the effects of electromagnetic fields failed to find any risk.

While the judge’s order prohibits the school district from entering any agreement, the district still can pursue interested parties, said Smith, of Parker and Covert, a Santa Ana-based law firm.

Citing declining enrollment, the school board on Feb. 8 ordered the closing of Fountain Valley Elementary, the city’s oldest school.

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The district has had a steady enrollment decline for the past 10 years. Seven schools have been closed in the area since 1979.


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