Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Lindsey's Law timeline

In today's Tulsa World, Kim Archer has a helpful Lindsey's Law timeline:
June 2010: Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Act, or HB 3393, is signed into law.

Fall 2010: Broken Arrow, Jenks, Union, Tulsa and Liberty school boards vote not to process the scholarships.

Jan. 18, 2011: Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt threatens legal action against those school districts and individual board members if they fail to comply with the law within the week.

Jan. 24, 2011: Union, Jenks, Broken Arrow and Liberty school districts announce that they will sue Pruitt over the constitutionality of the law. They also vote to process scholarships under the law until a decision on its constitutionality is made.

April 25: Twenty parents sue Broken Arrow, Jenks, Union and Tulsa school districts, alleging that their special-needs children were denied private school scholarships in 2010-11. Liberty Public Schools is not named in the lawsuit.

May: The state Legislature passes HB 1744, which transfers responsibility for administering the scholarship program from the districts to the Oklahoma State Department of Education. It took effect Aug. 26.

July: In light of that legislation, federal Chief Judge Claire Eagan grants the parents a stay so they can pursue "administrative remedies" through the state Education Department. Eagan also invites the school districts to file their challenge of HB 3393's constitutionality in state court, saying it would be a "better means of resolving the controversy between the parties."

Aug. 26: Pruitt asks the state Auditor's Office to investigate whether the Broken Arrow, Jenks, Liberty, Owasso, Tulsa and Union school districts complied with the law in 2010-11.

Sept. 2: Jenks and Union school districts file a countersuit in state court to challenge the constitutionality of the Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Act on behalf of all school districts. Their suit names the parents of three students in each district who participated in the federal lawsuit against the schools.

Nov. 3: A federal lawsuit filed against the Broken Arrow, Jenks, Tulsa and Union school districts by a group of parents alleging that their special-needs children were denied private school scholarships was dismissed at the parents' request.

March 27: Tulsa District Judge Rebecca B. Nightingale struck down the law, ruling it is unconstitutional. Opposing attorneys said they would immediately file a motion for a stay to keep the law intact until the appeals process is complete.

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