CHICAGO – The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and the Chicago Urban League today finalized a settlement agreement in the matter of the
Chicago Urban League, et al. v. Illinois State Board of Education, pending in the Circuit Court of Cook County. The settlement agreement resolves this longstanding litigation by establishing how ISBE will proceed when the General Assembly fails to enact an appropriation sufficient to pay for all General State Aid (GSA) claims submitted by school districts.
In response to the settlement agreement, Illinois State Board of Education Chairman James T. Meeks issued the following statement:
"The case settled today addresses one of the many symptoms caused by the State’s education funding system that is failing Illinois’ students. ISBE deeply appreciates Governor Bruce Rauner and the General Assembly for their ongoing efforts to reform the core problem of Illinois’ inadequate and inequitable education funding system. ISBE will continue to base all of its decisions on the best interests of individual school districts and their students to ensure that the whole child receives a high-quality education in a safe, secure, and supportive educational environment. ISBE remains hopeful that the General Assembly will enact funding reform during this legislative session to guarantee that no students ever have to settle for less than they deserve."
The Chicago Urban League filed the lawsuit in April 2008 challenging the constitutionality and equitability of the State’s education funding system. After the Court dismissed the State as a party and all constitutional claims, the Chicago Urban League specifically challenged ISBE’s use of “proration” during Fiscal Years 2013 through 2015. Specifically, in those years, when the General Assembly failed to appropriate sufficient funds to pay for the total amount of GSA owed to school districts, ISBE managed the shortfall by decreasing all school districts’ GSA payments by an equal across-the-board percentage. Expert witnesses for each party analyzed the Chicago Urban League’s claim and disagreed as to whether any disparity in funding caused by proration was significant.
ISBE has at all times denied any liability or wrongdoing in this lawsuit, and the parties agreed to settle to avoid the burden, costs, and distraction of continued litigation.