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FOUNTAIN VALLEY : Judge Delays Ruling on School’s Closure

A judge decided Friday to extend a temporary order keeping the Fountain Valley School District from leasing or selling Fountain Valley Elementary School until a lawsuit challenging its proposed closure is settled.

Orange County Superior Court Judge William F. Rylaarsdam said he hopes to make a ruling next week, giving him a few more days to study the arguments advanced by the school district and plaintiffs. The restraining order has been in effect since April 25.

The lawsuit was filed in February by the Future Education Protection Committee, a parent group of about 40 members. The committee, which wants the school to stay open, maintains that the school board “rushed” its decision to close Fountain Valley Elementary School without a proper environmental impact study.

Allen Brandt, attorney for the committee, said he was encouraged by the judge’s decision.

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“It’s an important case, and I think the judge realizes that,” Brandt said. “There was no fun and games this time. He wanted to hear specifics.”

Eric Smith, attorney for the school district, said it is clear the judge hasn’t made up his mind yet.

“It’s pretty much wait and see now,” Smith said. “I’m sure, though, both sides would have preferred for him to make a ruling.”

If the school is closed, students would be sent to three other schools in the district.

Brandt said an appeal of the judge’s decision is expected, regardless of his ruling.


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