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Chicago Public Schools Slaps State With Civil Rights Lawsuit

By aaroncynic in News on Feb 15, 2017 5:50PM

Demonstrators in front of Chicago Public Schools headquarters on Madison Street during the Chicago Teachers Union "day of action" on April 1, 2016. Photo by Aaron Cynic.

In the latest of a long battle between the Chicago Public Schools and Governor Bruce Rauner, the Chicago Board of Education filed suit against the governor and the Illinois State Board of Education on Tuesday.

According to the Sun-Times
, the suit cites the landmark civil rights case of Brown v. the Board of Education, accusing the state of "separate and unequal systems of funding for public education in Illinois."

"The state treats CPS's schoolchildren, who are predominantly African American and Hispanic, as second-class children, relegated to the back of the state's education funding school bus," the lawsuit alleges.

The lawsuit is the latest in a battle between the District and Rauner over funding for CPS. Despite having more than 20 percent of the state’s students, CPS only receives 15 percent of the state’s education funding. An overwhelming number of students in Chicago are people of color in economically disadvantaged areas, while students statewide are predominantly white. Due to Rauner’s veto of a bill in December that would’ve provided $215 million for pensions, the District says it was forced to make cuts. Most recently, CPS announced a $46 million freeze in discretionary spending.

"The clock is ticking for our schools and our kids, and for CPS,” CEO Forrest Claypool told reporters at a press conference, the Tribune reports.

“The point of the lawsuit is, under the civil rights clause of the state of Illinois, the way education is funded is in violation of the civil rights of our children,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

In a statement, Rauner’s education secretary Beth Purvis said the state was reviewing the suit.

“It is important to remember that the bipartisan, bicameral school funding commission just issued its report, which recommends an equitable school funding formula that defines adequacy according to the needs of students within each school district...The governor remains focused on moving forward these recommendations and hopes that CPS will be a partner in that endeavor”