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Suit Seeks Desegregation Funds

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The Chicago Public Schools filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court last week alleging that the federal government has failed to follow through on a commitment to help finance the school district's voluntary desegregation plan.

Under the terms of a consent decree approved by U.S. District Judge Milton I. Shadur in January, the federal government committed itself "to bring about a coordinated administration of federal programs in Chicago to help create and maintain stably integrated schools."

A spokesman for the district says federal officials have failed to provide adequate funds to help pay for its share of the desegregation effort. In the past, the Education Department provided districts undergoing desegregation with categorical grants through the Emergency School Aid Act (esaa), but that program was folded into the education block-grants program in 1981.

Since September 1981, the board has spent $95.7 million to desegregate its schools and plans to spend an additional $67 million during the 1983-84 school year. The federal government has provided the district with only $2.1 million in school-desegregation assistance since 1981.

Earlier this year, the Chicago school board announced that it also planned to sue the state of Illinois on similar grounds.

The board has not yet filed that suit, according to the district spokesman.--tm

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