Gov. Bruce Rauner and the state of Illinois claim an amended discrimination lawsuit filed by Chicago Public Schools suffers from the same flaws that got the district's previous suit tossed from court earlier this year.
Attorneys representing the governor – along with the state Board of Education, board Chair Rev. James Meeks, ISBE Superintendent Tony Smith and Comptroller Susana Mendoza – filed a motion Friday afternoon asking a Cook County Chancery Court judge to dismiss the CPS suit.
“No overt racial classifications exist on the face of the challenged laws that would indicate intentional discrimination,” the motion states, “and nothing in the categories used by the law, such as distinctions between Chicago and the rest of the State, indicate some sort of hidden proxy for an intent to discriminate based on race.”
CPS has said the state implements two education systems: one for Chicago’s predominantly black and Hispanic students, and another for white children outside the city.
The school district and five Chicago parents filed the suit back in February – months after Rauner vetoed $215 million in pension dollars CPS had planned to use to balance its fiscal year 2017 budget – claiming Illinois’ “separate and unequal education funding systems” are illegal and violate the Illinois Civil Rights Act.
The suit also sought to keep Rauner and the state from distributing funding in a “discriminatory way” and have Illinois’ teacher pension funding systems declared unlawful under ICRA.
Seeking a result before the end of the school year, CPS later filed a motion for preliminary injunctive relief, hoping to glean additional funding from the state. In April, Judge Franklin Valderrama denied that request and tossed the case entirely, saying the complaint “failed to state a claim” proving how CPS students were being disparately impacted by the state.
But he did leave the door open for CPS to refile, which it did in May.
A district spokeswoman did not immediately reply to a request for comment. The parties are due back in court for a status hearing Aug. 10.
Follow Matt Masterson on Twitter: @ByMattMasterson
April 28: A Cook County Judge has dealt a financial setback to Chicago Public Schools – stating that the school district’s complaint is “not the vehicle to address [the state’s] inequity” in education funding.
April 28: Chicago Public Schools will stay open until June 22, the end of the regular school year, instead of closing early on June 1. “We will be here working to find the resources,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Feb. 14: Chicago Public Schools and five local families announced Tuesday they have filed suit against the state of Illinois in an effort to force equitable funding for the cash-strapped school district.