Green Oak Plans Federal Lawsuit Against South Lyon Schools
December 1, 2017
Officials in Green Oak Township say they are prepared to file a lawsuit against a local school district for refusing to allow a school building to be used as a polling location.
Green Oak Township Clerk Michael Sedlak tells WHMI that the South Lyon Community School District has notified them that Brummer Elementary School, located at 10 Mile and Rushton Road, will no longer be available for use as a polling station. Sedlak alleges that the issue began in the summer of 2016 when the district said that due to a new contract with its teachers union, they could no longer use an in-service day on election days, which would mean students would have to be in the school during balloting, which they claimed was a safety issue.
Sedlak says because they were so close to the Presidential Election, the district allowed the school to be used, but required a police presence. He says when no safety issues arose, district officials then changed their rationale to instead say it was due to the state requirement that school couldn’t start until after Labor Day, making it impossible for them to accommodate a day off.
A meeting with South Lyon administrators and the clerks from the affected municipalities, including Lyon and Salem townships and the City of South Lyon, was held in May to try and resolve the issue, but Sedlak says they were instead “strung along” until he finally requested permission to file a lawsuit and resolve the dispute. Sedlak says voters in the southeast corner of the township will now have to travel to an opposite corner of the district and vote in a school in the Brighton district. He says he will spend the next couple of months working with the other affected municipalities to try and convince them to join in the lawsuit as a class-action. But he says Green Oak Township will go it alone if need be. Either way, he expects the suit will be filed early next year in federal court. However, he encourages residents to contact the district with their opinions on the issue.
South Lyon Superintendent Melissa Baker tells WHMI "At no time have we denied access to our buildings as voting precincts. We will be continuing conversations with our municipalities regarding future elections. To date, I have not spoken with any municipalities regarding plans for next November." (JK)