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Rauner, State Ask Judge to Toss Amended CPS Discrimination Suit

Attorneys representing Gov. Bruce Rauner and a handful of other state officials are asking a judge to toss Chicago Public Schools' discrimination lawsuit for a second time. (Chicago Tonight)

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.”

Document: Read the state's full motion here.Document: Read the state's full motion here.

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

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