A Fulton County judge threw out a suit filed alleging the Fulton County School District illegally used taxpayers resources to advocate against a constitutional amendment to grant the state more power to create and fund charter schools.
The plaintiffs had filed a suit in Fulton County Superior Court against Fulton and Gwinnett school systems, claiming the districts used their websites and other resources to try to persuade parents to vote against the November ballot question.
The judge sent the case against Gwinnett schools to Gwinnett courts.
Glenn Delk, the attorney for the plaintiffs, argued in court that the superintendents for both Fulton and Gwinnett counties used official district websites to try to persuade voters to reject the amendment.
"What they can't do is post on the website material that advocates one position or another," Delk said. "They don't have the right to express their opinion in an official capacity. We think that's prohibited."
The Gwinnett school chief has posted a message, saying his district was merely trying to inform parents and that the lawsuit was an attempt at bullying.
Fulton County posted what that district said was a purely informational question and answer forum on its website.
Judge Wendy Shoob agreed with Fulton County.
"I think the Q&A on their website is appropriate," Shoob said. "I'll deny your motion and for Gwinnett, it's transferred."
Fulton County Superintendent Robert Avossa said his district did not violate the rules.
"We've done what's right. We were honest, we were transparent and we remained neutral," Avossa said. "I'll continue to do what I have been doing up until Election Day. We'll share the facts."
Rich Thompson, a plaintiff and a parent, vowed to keep fighting.
"I vehemently disagree," Thompson said. "It is not in the position of the school board to post information that advocates against the interest of the children."
Another group of plaintiffs filed a similar suit in Gwinnett County.
A spokeswoman for Gwinnett schools said that both cases will go before a judge in that county in two weeks.
Copyright 2012 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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