Tentative settlement reached in 2008 Illinois education suit
Feb. 18, 2017
CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Urban League and the Illinois State Board of Education have reached a tentative settlement of a yearslong lawsuit that claims discriminatory school funding.
In the settlement, the board agrees that if appropriations for schools are inadequate, it will either cap per-pupil cuts or use another methodology to distribute funds "based on the needs of each school district and its students." That's instead of "prorating" state aid dollars to schools when money is short, which has been practice during Illinois' nearly two-year budget stalemate.
The Board of Education is scheduled to vote on the settlement Wednesday.
The Urban League claimed in the lawsuit filed in 2008 that the state's funding model has a "demonstrable, disparate and adverse impact" on minority students. The organization later moved for a partial summary judgment on their claims that the board's habit of dividing funds equally, regardless a district's size or student population, discriminated against students based on race.
An Urban League spokeswoman refused to discuss the settlement until the state board votes on it. Board of Education spokeswoman Jackie Matthews said the agency also would not comment further until after the vote.
The settlement comes after Chicago Board of Education filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the governor and state education officials, claiming the way Illinois funds its schools violates the civil rights of the predominantly-minority student population in the nation's third-largest school district.
The Chicago lawsuit pertains only to Chicago students, while the Urban League case applies to the entire state.