The York City School District has settled a federal lawsuit filed by two New Hope Academy Charter School supporters who alleged the district's school board violated their rights to free speech.
At a meeting Wednesday, the board agreed to pay Cal Weary and Shannon Garcia $8,000 to cover their attorneys' fees and court costs.
On March 19, nearly 200 New Hope supporters attended a district board meeting. Many of them, including some students, had filled out forms before the meeting to speak during the public-comment session — as the district requires.
But the board's solicitor announced before the session began that the board would not accept comments related to New Hope. The board also limited comment to people 18 or older.
That decision triggered the lawsuit filed by Garcia, the mother of a New Hope student, and Weary, a teacher at the charter school.
Weary and Garcia both tried to address the board on March 19 but were prevented from doing so.
According to the "compromise" settlement agreement, Weary acknowledges that he may not address the board during public comment because he does not live in the city.
However, the district has agreed to permit Garcia, a city resident, to address the board during public comment "if Garcia complies with all applicable procedures."
The district has also agreed to allow minors who live in the city to address the board during public comment "if they comply with all applicable procedures," according to the agreement.
Another lawsuit: Another federal lawsuit filed by nearly 60 New Hope parents and students is pending in court.
In that complaint, the plaintiffs allege their constitutional rights were violated when the York City School District denied New Hope's application for a charter renewal in 2012.
In April, Commonwealth Court affirmed a state Charter School Appeal Board decision that upheld the district's decision.
New Hope officials have decided not to appeal to the state Supreme Court, which could have refused to hear the case.
— Reach Erin James at firstname.lastname@example.org.