Lee County charter school fights eviction - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Lee County charter school fights eviction


One day after the Lee County Sheriff's Office served notice to the Mary L. Dinkins Charter School, the school remained open Thursday.

The notice served Wednesday ordered the school's principal to leave the building by noon Thursday. The eviction comes after MLD's contract to use a 60-year-old portion of the district's Dennis Intermediate School expired in June.

The Academy's attorney quickly filed an appeal allowing classes to continue temporarily, so the school remained open Thursday.

The ejection caught director Benita Dinkins by surprise.

"This whole process has been unfair and unjust to the children," said Dinkins. "This whole entire process. And no one should ever do children wrong, regardless of what you think about adults or the even the charter school movement."

"The children should never have to suffer because of these decisions," said Dinkins.

Deputies got the signed eviction order Wednesday morning after a judge ruled last week that the district had a right to remove the charter school from the district's property. The charter school and the Lee County School District have battled in court for the past three years, after a lawsuit ordered LCSD to properly fund the charter school and provide bus rides to the charter school students in 2009. 

Dinkins said she and the district had an oral agreement in March to continue using the building during the 2012-2013 school year, but said the district filed the eviction order in July without warning. The district did not deny the March agreement during the eviction hearing last Friday in Bishopville.

"When we met in March, we were under the agreement that we would be able to remain here until we opened our new facility," Dinkins said.

Some parents are worried about what happens next. Tammy Shaw's three children attend the school.

"I had one that had some really health issues," said Tammy Shaw. "He had missed a lot of school because he's had knee surgery. They put him in programs to help him catch up on reading, not just push him to the side. I'm hoping they keep the doors open."

Synthia Zurita has five kids in the school.  She isn't quite so concerned about the possibility of a shutdown.

"Now I do like the fact that all my kids do go to the same school, but I'm not impressed by it," said Zurita. "Not by any means."

Next step for the Academy: a court hearing late Friday morning to determine whether Dinkins can post a security bond for the school building.

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