Illinois Governor, State Education Officials Sued By Chicago Public Schools For 'Discriminatory' Funding

Chicago Public Schools believe their schools are underfunded and that the state is discriminating against certain minority groups.This prompted a lawsuit filed Tuesday against state education officials and the governor of Illinois.

As per the complaint, Chicago Public Schools claimed the way Illinois funds its schools violate the civil rights of the predominantly minority student population. The complaint was filed on behalf of both Hispanic and black families and they want a Cook County judge to declare the funding system as unlawful, U.S. News reported.

The complaint claimed the Illinois funding has different ways of managing Chicago schools that have 90 percent Hispanic and black students compared to the schools and other districts that have a predominantly white student population. The complaint also claimed Chicago students only receive 15 percent of the funding from the state even if nearly 20 percent of the students belong to their district, thus funds run short, Dispatch Argus reported.

Chicago Public Schools CEO, Forrest Claypool, said in a statement, Illinois' way of funding their district is understood as "their educations matter less than children in the rest of Illinois."  He found this both morally and legally indefensible. He also said Chicago students of color are learning in a separate but unequal system.

Educators in Chicago also believe the district is penalized by the state as it is the only area in Illinois that lets taxpayers pay teacher pension costs. Other areas have the aid of the state for this matter.

Gov. Bruce Rauner did not comment on this lawsuit yet but his office said state officials are reviewing the matter. State Secretary of Education Beth Purvis also said in a statement a bipartisan task force is working on school funding issues. She hopes Chicago Public Schools will be a partner in their endeavor. 

Aside from Rauner, also named as respondents of the lawsuit are the State Board of Education officials and Comptroller Susana Mendoza. Mendoza's office controls the checkbook of Illinois.

It was acknowledged in the past that Illinois has an insufficient calculation of funding because most school districts rely on local property tax revenues for funding. Chicago schools have been experiencing financial woes in recent times. Many institutions were placed at the junk status of credit rating agencies.

Take a look at this campaign video questioning the equality of education in Chicago. Let us know what you think!

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