Chicago lawuits say school closings unfair, discriminate against blacks

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Chicago Teachers Union's decision to go to court to try to stop the city from closing 53 elementary schools, while not unexpected, makes clear that the Board of Education's vote on the proposal next week will not put an end to the controversy.

The two lawsuits, filed on behalf of parents and their special needs children, say the proposed school closings are unfair, will harm students with disabilities and are discriminatory because almost all the students affected are African-American.

One lawsuit asks for a delay of at least a year before any schools are closed; the other asks for a permanent injunction on closings. Hearings on the suits are not expected until after the board votes Wednesday.

A CTU-backed lawsuit last year sought to block closings on behalf of local school council members, alleging that closings disproportionately affected African-Americans. That case was tossed out by a Cook County judge but is still under appeal.

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