03/13/06 — Wayne will join lawsuit challenging eye exams

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Wayne will join lawsuit challenging eye exams

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on March 13, 2006 1:52 PM

From staff reports

The Wayne County Board of Education voted Friday to join school boards across the state in a lawsuit seeking to nullify a new law requiring "comprehensive eye exams" for children entering kindergarten.

The board met in closed session with its attorney to discuss the matter. It later announced the decision and noted that there will be no cost to the school system for being involved in the lawsuit.

The North Carolina School Board Association filed the lawsuit in February and is paying all legal fees.

More than a dozen local school boards have already announced their support of the lawsuit and more are expected to join. Lenoir, Wake, Buncombe, Forsyth, Person, Currituck, Tyrrell, Alamance and Davidson county school boards are among the parties to the suit. They contend the law, which is to be effective this fall, violates the state constitution's mandate for free public education.

The eye examinations would cost between $65 and $120. The School Board Association said the law puts "an unconstitutional price on admission," to the public schools.

State House Speaker Jim Black, an optometrist who proposed the law, had suggested that deadlines for exams could be changed. He also formed a fund to help pay for exams.