Cases & Deals

Crossway Community's lower school receives charter school status

Clients Crossway Community Inc.

Debbie Clayman and J.T. O'Hara teamed up and undertook the representation of a 501(3) (3) organization named Crossway Community that was seeking approval from the Montgomery County School Board to convert to charter school status their existing lower school that teaches children of low-income parents and single mothers according to the Montessori educational method.

The Board initially denied Crossway's application and Jones Day then filed an appeal with the State Attorney General's Office stating, among other things, that the County had not conducted its review of the application with full due process nor was its denial based upon reasonable grounds. The AG's Office agreed with our contentions and remanded the case to the County with instructions to address our assertions.

We then made a calculated judgment that any "new" review by the County would only result in affirming their original denial after taking pains to demonstrate their adherence to the due process requirements and stating plausible reasonable grounds. Therefore, we filed a new and separate application that included a lot more evidentiary material and obtained some expert consultants who addressed some of the shaky factual assumptions on which the County based its earlier denial.

After months of meetings with the County staff and further supplemental filings, the Board approved the application by a 6-2 vote on July 25, 2011. Several of the majority members stated that Crossway demonstrated "great perseverance" and ''thoroughly addressed all of our concerns with convincing data". The Board room erupted in applause as more than 50 Crossway supporters reacted to the decision. This was an historical moment because the County had denied all previous applications for charter school approval. Thus, our client will be the first charter school in Montgomery County.

Crossway was extremely appreciative of the Firm's effort. They have since said many times and in many different ways that they could not have achieved this result but for the services of Jones Day.