*** UPDATE 1 *** I’m hearing that the issues in the lawsuit have been so whittled down that this settlement will be very narrow. So, likely a false alarm. We’ll know more at about 4:30 this afternoon.
*** UPDATE 2 *** Yep. Really narrow. Not much there at all. Click here and go to page 173 of the board’s packet.
*** UPDATE 3 *** From CPS…
[ *** End Of Updates *** ]
The Urban League raised critical and complex issues, challenging the State’s regressive methods of funding public education and its impact on the poor. We applaud the Urban League for its efforts.
Neither the Urban League case nor its settlement affects the lawsuit filed by CPS on Tuesday. The CPS case challenges Illinois’ discriminatory funding, which creates two separate and massively unequal systems of funding public education: one system for the predominantly white school districts in the rest of Illinois, and a separate system for CPS, whose African American, Hispanic, and other children of color make up 90 percent of Chicago students.
The State’s discriminatory system has shortchanged CPS by approximately $500 million in this fiscal year alone. CPS will continue to aggressively pursue its lawsuit.
* The Illinois State Board of Education put out an agenda today for its upcoming Feb. 22nd meeting. Check out this item near the bottom…
Settlement Agreement in the Matter of the Chicago Urban League, et al. v. Illinois State Board of Education
I’ve put in calls to the State Board of Education, the Chicago Urban League and others and haven’t heard back yet. The State Board of Education’s chairman, James Meeks, hasn’t returned two calls but did say “Yes” via text when I asked if the ISBE was settling the lawsuit.
* For now, here’s some background on that particular suit…
On August 20, 2008, plaintiffs in Chicago Urban League v. State of Illinois filed a complaint that asks the court to declare the state’s current school funding scheme unconstitutional. Plaintiffs claim that the education finance system is in violation of the education provision of the state constitution which guarantees all students “a high quality education” and that it also discriminates against families based on race in violation of the Illinois Civil Rights Act of 2003.
On April 15, 2009, the Circuit Court of Cook County held that plaintiffs’ claim that the state education finance system has the effect of providing substantially lower dollar amounts per student in “majority-minority” school districts states a valid cause of action under the Illinois Civil Rights Act and that the case may therefore proceed to trial. Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2001 ruling in Alexander v. Sandoval, 532 U.S. 275, individuals can not file discriminatory impact claims under Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act in federal court, but a private right of action is available under the Illinois Civil Rights Act, the provisions of which are similar to Title VI. Discovery and pre-trial motions have proceeded for the past several years. In this process, the court has narrowed the scope of the triable issues to include only actions taken by state board of education which may have a discriminatory impact; the impact of the basic state funding system enacted by the legislature is apparently beyond the scope of the issues that the court will consider.
The Illinois Court dismissed the plaintiffs’ education adequacy claims because of the binding precedent of Committee for Educational Rights v. Edgar, 672 N.E.2d 1178 (1996), in which the Illinois Supreme Court held that adequacy claims are not justiciable. After the trial is completed on the Civil Rights Act issues, the Plaintiffs may appeal the adequacy issues to the Supreme Court to ask it to re-consider that precedent.
During the summer of 2016, the Illinois State Board of Education and the plaintiffs entered into a series of intensive negotiations to settle the case. State Superintendent Tony Smith has stated that the state’s funding system is archaic and harmful to minority students and he and a number of board members reportedly would like to settle the suit. However, according to the plaintiffs, the board’s representatives have walked away from the talks, leading the plaintiffs to file a motion for summary judgment. Under prodding from a number of legislators who agree that the system is inequitable, the state has in recent years compiled a substantial amount of data that the plaintiffs believe will help them to prove their case.
And click here for a column I wrote last fall about the settlement talks.
This could be huge, campers.